Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 2450–2463 | Cite as

Virtual Reality Job Interview Training in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Matthew J. SmithEmail author
  • Emily J. Ginger
  • Katherine Wright
  • Michael A. Wright
  • Julie Lounds Taylor
  • Laura Boteler Humm
  • Dale E. Olsen
  • Morris D. Bell
  • Michael F. Fleming
Original Paper


The feasibility and efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) was assessed in a single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Adults with autism spectrum disorder were randomized to VR-JIT (n = 16) or treatment-as-usual (TAU) (n = 10) groups. VR-JIT consisted of simulated job interviews with a virtual character and didactic training. Participants attended 90 % of laboratory-based training sessions, found VR-JIT easy to use and enjoyable, and they felt prepared for future interviews. VR-JIT participants had greater improvement during live standardized job interview role-play performances than TAU participants (p = 0.046). A similar pattern was observed for self-reported self-confidence at a trend level (p = 0.060). VR-JIT simulation performance scores increased over time (R 2 = 0.83). Results indicate preliminary support for the feasibility and efficacy of VR-JIT, which can be administered using computer software or via the internet.


Autism spectrum disorder Internet-based intervention Job interview skills Vocational training 



Support for this work was provided by a grant to Dr. Dale Olsen (R44 MH080496) from the National Institute of Mental Health with a subcontract to Dr. Michael Fleming at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. We would like to thank Dr. Zoran Martinovich for his consultation on the statistical analyses. The authors acknowledge research staff at Northwestern University’s Clinical Research Program for data collection and our participants for volunteering their time.

Conflict of interest

Drs. Smith, Lounds Taylor, and Fleming as well as Ms. Ginger, Ms. Wright, and Mr. Wright have no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to the subject of this study. Dr. Olsen and Ms Boteler Humm have owners equity in SIMmersion and Dr. Bell was a paid consultant by SIMmersion during the development of the intervention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Smith
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Emily J. Ginger
    • 1
  • Katherine Wright
    • 1
  • Michael A. Wright
    • 1
  • Julie Lounds Taylor
    • 2
  • Laura Boteler Humm
    • 3
  • Dale E. Olsen
    • 3
  • Morris D. Bell
    • 4
    • 5
  • Michael F. Fleming
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Pediatrics and Special Education, Vanderbilt Kennedy CenterVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.SIMmersion, LLCColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryYale School of MedicineWest HavenUSA
  5. 5.Department of Veteran Affairs, VACHSYale School of MedicineWest HavenUSA
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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