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Metaverse-based social skills training programme for children with autism spectrum disorder to improve social interaction ability: an open-label, single-centre, randomised controlled pilot trial

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dc.description.abstractBackground: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by abnormalities in social interactions and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Children with high-functioning ASD (HFASD), lack social communication skills, do not interact with others, and lack peer relationships. We aimed to develop, and evaluate the feasibility of, a metaverse-based programme to enhance the social skills of children with HFASD. Methods: This open-label, single-centre, pilot parallel randomised controlled trial (RCT) was conducted on boys aged 7–12 years with HFASD. Children were recruited from a treatment centre for children with HFASD in Korea or by self-referral through online community webpages for the parents of children with HFASD. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) by a blinded researcher to receive either four weeks of a metaverse-based social skills training programme or a control group. Randomisation was stratified by age (children aged 7–9 and 10–12 years) using permuted blocks (block size 4). The metaverse-based social skills training programme was delivered via the metaverse platforms (Roblox) and Zoom. Children in the intervention group completed the metaverse-based social skills training programme at home for four weeks. The intervention consisted of four sessions, one session per week, for 60 min each. The control group did not receive any interventions. The primary outcome measure was the median change in the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2) scores from pre-to post-intervention. SRS-2 is an assessment tool used to confirm the effectiveness of social interactions. Higher scores indicate lower social functioning. The trial is registered with CRIS Registration Number; KCT0006859. Findings: Between February 14, 2022, and March 31, 2022, 20 participants were enrolled. Overall, 15 children (median [Interquartile range (IQR)] age, intervention group: 9.0 [8.0–10.0]; control group: 8.5 [8.0–10.0]) participated in the programme. The intervention group included nine participants (60%), and the control group included six participants (40%). The SRS-2 total scores for the intervention group decreased from baseline 96.0 (IQR: 74.0–112.0) to post-intervention 85.0 (IQR: 84.0–103.0). The group median difference in SRS-2 scores between the intervention and control groups was 11.5 (95% CI: 8.5–14.0), with a further reduction in the intervention group. Similar trends were seen for social cognition (group median difference, 95% CI: 2.0, 1.0–4.0), social communication (group median difference, 95% CI: 2.0, 1.0–4.0), and autistic mannerism (group median difference, 95% CI: 4.0, 1.0–5.0). There were no adverse events related to study participation. Interpretation: The findings of this feasibility study suggest that children with HFASD can potentially be familiarised, through metaverse-based programmes, with real-life social situations to improve sociality and reduce emotional and behavioural problems. Such interventions could be delivered at home and possibly be extended to target groups that have difficulty in interacting with peers offline. Funding: The Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation grant, via the Ministry of Science and ICT of the South Korean Government. © 2023 The Author(s)-
dc.publisherThe Lancet-
dc.rightsCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 KR-
dc.titleMetaverse-based social skills training programme for children with autism spectrum disorder to improve social interaction ability: an open-label, single-centre, randomised controlled pilot trial-
dc.contributor.collegeCollege of Medicine (의과대학)-
dc.contributor.departmentDept. of Biomedical Systems Informatics (의생명시스템정보학교실)-
dc.contributor.googleauthorJoo Hyun Lee-
dc.contributor.googleauthorTae Seon Lee-
dc.contributor.googleauthorSu Young Yoo-
dc.contributor.googleauthorSeung Woo Lee-
dc.contributor.googleauthorJi Hye Jang-
dc.contributor.googleauthorYe Jin Choi-
dc.contributor.googleauthorYu Rang Park-
dc.subject.keywordDigital therapeutics-
dc.subject.keywordDigital therapy-
dc.subject.keywordHigh functioning autism spectrum disorder-
dc.subject.keywordSocial skill training programme-
dc.contributor.alternativeNamePark, Yu Rang-
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationECLINICALMEDICINE, Vol.61 : 102072, 2023-07-
Appears in Collections:
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Biomedical Systems Informatics (의생명시스템정보학교실) > 1. Journal Papers


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