MIAMI, Florida (Ivanhoe Newswire): Interviewing for a job can be intimidating and even more so for someone with autism. Even in a good job market, only 20% of adults with autism are contracted. Now, technology hopes to change that with avatars.
Katherine Badyna and her mother share more than time to eat at home. They currently work for the same company. Badyna was recently hired to do the data entry.
“It makes me feel really good because it makes me feel like I’m doing something and that I care about the world. For a long time, I never thought I cared, ”Badyna shared.
Badyna has a learning difficulty. In 2019 he enrolled in the Dan Marino Foundation, where he trained with VITA, virtual interactive training agents. Avatars that help people with developmental disabilities, including autism, prepare for job interviews.
“It just increases your confidence. If you are prepared, everything is easier, “said Mary Partin, CEO of the Dan Marino Foundation.
VITA uses a wide variety of avatars to attract respondents.
“There are different characteristics. You can have someone who is very gentle and speak very well to you, or you can have someone who is more direct, ”Partin continued.
“I remember being once given a hostile person on purpose, because it was the hardest part. But I nailed it, ”Badyna said.
Virtual reality like VITA is helping people with autism find work and be worthwhile in the real world.
“Having a job and doing something every day makes me feel good and knowing it’s a way to contribute to society,” Badyna smiled.
Avatars have also been used to help soldiers recover from PTSD and future uses could include helping former inmates return to the world of work.