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Can Virtual Reality Help Autistic Children Navigate the Real World?


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Floreo, founded by Vijay Ravindran, formerly of Amazon, is developing virtual reality lessons designed to help behavioral therapists, speech therapists, special educators, and parents who work with autistic children. Here, Mr. Ravindran’s son uses h

Credit: Valerie Plesch/The New York Times

Vijay Ravindran has always been fascinated with technology. At Amazon, he oversaw the team that built and started Amazon Prime. Later, he joined the Washington Post as chief digital officer, where he advised Donald E. Graham on the sale of the newspaper to his former boss, Jeff Bezos, in 2013.

By late 2015, Mr. Ravindran was winding down his time at the renamed Graham Holdings Company. But his primary focus was his son, who was then 6 years old and undergoing therapy for autism.

"Then an amazing thing happened," Mr. Ravindran said.

Mr. Ravindran was noodling around with a virtual reality headset when his son asked to try it out. After spending 30 minutes using the headset in Google Street View, the child went to his playroom and started acting out what he had done in virtual reality.

From The New York Times
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