IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Technology could be used more to support children with Intellectual and developmental disorder

3 July 2019

Educators should consider how innovative technologies can be used to support the development of social skills for students with Intellectual and developmental disorder (IDD) to prepare them for employment, UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic Dr Zachary Walker has found.

Woman using a virtual reality headset. Image credit: Nan Palmero via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

While individuals with IDD often attain high rates of success once employed, there is substantial evidence that struggling with social skills including the self-confidence needed in an interview setting is the primary barrier to gaining and maintaining employment for individuals with IDD. Data on employment outcomes along with scholarly literature on social skills education suggest that current preparation is unsuccessful for individuals with IDD transitioning into the workplace.

The literature review, conducted by Dr Zachary Walker (IOE), Sheena Lee (National Institute of Education, Singapore), Wilfred Wienke (University of Central Florida) and Desiree Tan (National Institute of Education, Singapore), found that some technologies, including virtual reality and mixed reality, can improve the social skills required for interpersonal interactions and interviewing for people with IDD.

In the report, the authors note that job interviews are one area where technology may be able to assist individuals in specific settings.

Examining a range of work, the authors highlighted some studies which have shown that video modelling systems, video prompting and virtual reality interview training have aided individuals with IDD, helping them to improve self-management and interview skills. 

‘A review of interview preparation via virtual and mixed reality for individuals with intellectual and developmental disorder’ was published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in June 2019.