Put yourself in their shoes: a new app to raise awareness of autism

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In 5 seconds

Professor Marc Lanovaz's team at UdeM's School of Psychoeducation has developed a virtual-reality app to understand the daily lives of people with autism.

Marc Lanova

Marc Lanova, professor at the School of Psychoeducation at UdeM

Credit: Ordre des psychoéducateurs et psychoéducatrices du Québec (OPPQ)

To raise awareness, a research team at the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal (CR-IUSMM) has developed a virtual-reality application that replicates the challenges that autistic people can face in their everyday lives.

"We all know that the best way to better understand someone's reality is to put yourself in their shoes," said Marc Lanovaz, a professor at Université de Montréal's School of Psychoeducation.

For the app, which is available free and in English and French, "we therefore simulated the difficulties that an autistic person may experience on a sensory and social level when faced with a stressful situation, such as a visit to the dentist.”

Develop for use in the workplace, schools and health centres, the app works with a Meta Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset. In a randomized trial with 104 cégep students, it has proven to significantly improve knowledge, attitudes and openness toward autism. 

The app was made possible thanks to the financial support of the IUSMM Foundation and the National Network of Expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Information and interview

Medias Relations Office
CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
514 251-4070

About the CIUSSS de l'Est-de l'Île-de-Montréal

The Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-EMTL) encompasses 26 facilities and serves a population of more than 500,000 Montrealers. Affiliated with the Université de Montréal, it offers a complete range of frontline healthcare and social services, housing services, and general, specialized, and superspecialized hospital services and mental health care. Thanks to its two research centres and its four pillars of excellence in mental health, immuno-hematology, eye healthcare and nephrology, the CIUSSS-EMTL is a leader in health innovation in Canada. Its teams´ innovative ideas contribute to its national and international reach.

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