Experience What It's Like to Be Autistic in Virtual Reality

U.K.'s National Autistic Society Is Touring Shopping Malls With Project

Published On
Jun 08, 2016

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The U.K.'s National Autistic Society is launching a virtual reality experience that aims to give people an insight into what it's like to be autistic.

The experience, created by London agency Don't Panic, is based on a film launched in April by the charity, titled "Can You Make it to the End?" and based on an autistic boy's experience of a shopping mall. It allows users to experience a sensory overload, overstimulation regularly experienced by autistic people in a seemingly normal situation. References included in the film were based on real experiences and feedback from the autistic community.

Using Samsung Gear VR, the immersive film will tour shopping malls letting viewers experience their surroundings through the eyes of the boy in the film. People can also download an app to watch the film, or watch in 360 degrees on YouTube.

The Society hopes that the project will help the public to better understand autism and fight prejudice against the condition.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society said in a statement: "We launched our 'Too Much Information' campaign in April because hundreds of thousands of autistic people are ending up isolated and lonely due to poor public understanding of autism. The public want to be empathetic to autistic people, but often they just don't 'see' the condition and may mistake an autistic person melting down in public for someone being deliberately disruptive. We're really excited to be the first charity using virtual reality to demonstrate what this aspect of autism can feel, see and sound like."