I would not say that I am a person who is typically interested in the newest gadgets, computers, or inventions. It took me a long time to even want to use a computer, let alone stop being afraid of it. The old type of 3-D made me feel very dizzy and nauseous. I have yet to obtain a regular cell phone, let alone a smart phone – and I don’t even want to. When I was young, and my brother and cousins wanted to play in the video arcade, I just wanted to get back outside.
No, I wouldn’t say that the latest technological advances in these areas interest me much.
One thing I have really been looking forward to over the past several years, however, is virtual reality. For me, I feel this will be one of the most useful items to ever be brought into the social, educational, or gaming worlds.
It isn’t that I want to isolate myself from the world – I already do that. I do believe it will be a better way for people like me – those with Autism, Social Anxiety Disorder, or other social issues – to learn to interact better with the world. It also seems like something that will make the world more accessible to us.
Without the constant fear of interacting with a world that does not understand us – a world that is frightening, and confusing, and often treats us poorly (even when that is not their intention) – I believe we will be more successful in learning those basic social rules that others seem to learn easily when they are young. For me, the confidence gained through that would encourage me to spend more time socializing with people, rather than become isolating in fulfilling my social needs by itself.
As the majority of us with Autism are unemployed, or underemployed, it is unlikely that most of us would have the opportunity to travel the world. Not only is the cost prohibitive, but to be in unfamiliar environments, with limited access to our familiar foods, and surrounded in crowds (noise, smells, activity) which brings about sensory overload, it really isn’t practical for many of us to travel often. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want the opportunity to visit other places, and see new sights – even if that is only accessible in a virtual world.
How amazing it would be for me to be able to travel to the ancient world, such as Israel and Egypt. To be able to go on a safari in Africa. To visit the Tower of London, and Thames River in England. To visit the castles in Scotland.
I would love to be able to visit virtual zoos and aquariums, where real animals do not need to be held captive for my enjoyment. Amusement parks, perhaps surprisingly, are one of my favourite places to go. To be able to visit these without the lineups… without the yells and screams from overwhelmed children… without the long drives that leave me nauseous, or the struggle with food that leaves me irritable or in meltdown (but with the smell of funnel cakes and popcorn) would be near heaven to me.
My hope is that this will not take too long to become available. For too long I have been trapped in my own world. I would really like to have this experience, and learn to be a part of the world which has remained (despite my best efforts to learn to be a part of it) inaccessible to me for so long.
My fears are that the costs will be so high that I won’t be able to enjoy it when it comes, and that the graphics will be poor and make me feel dizzy, much like the old type of 3-D (the new 3-D has less negative effects on me than even the newer 2-D movies do.)
All in all, I am really looking forward to the introduction of virtual reality into my world, and all of the possibilities that such an invention contains for someone like me.