Training contingency awareness through an interactive virtual environment

Assistive Technology - Communication


Children and youth with profound and multiple disabilities are often unable to interact with their immediate surroundings and control relevant stimuli due to their limited response (motor) repertoire. As a result, their cognitive learning in contingency awareness is delayed or absent. Music therapy has been found to help children to overcome this problem and improve learning. Music is used as both stimulation and reward to establish and promote constructive responses and reduce problem behaviours.

This study aims to determine whether contingency awareness can be acquired after intensive training, and if it will be manifested both physically and physiologically. Five locked-in subjects will undergo 20-30 sessions with a virtual environment therapy tool, specifically the Virtual Music Instrument. The music therapist will guide and teach them to play music, as well as monitor and evaluate their progress. We will use the captured physiological signals and retrospective video review to determine whether there is change in duration and frequency of activations.


Tom Chau, PhD, PEng

Interested in participating

Recruitment is currently closed.

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