Using Virtual Interactive Training Agents (ViTA) with Adults with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Mar;48(3):905-912. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3374-z.


Conversational virtual human (VH) agents are increasingly used to support role-play experiential learning. This project examined whether a Virtual Interactive Training Agent (ViTA) system would improve job interviewing skills in individuals with autism and developmental disabilities (N = 32). A linear mixed model was employed to evaluate adjusted least square mean differences of means scores on the Marino Interview Assessment Scale (MIAS) across different time points. The mean score of MIAS over all questions increased between the first ViTA session and the final face-to-face interview. Participants developed the ability to identify strengths, self-promote, self-advocate, answer situational questions, and respond to behavioral/social questions as measured by multiple evaluations using the MIAS.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; Developmental disability; Employment interviews; Intellectual disability; Virtual human; Virtual interactive training agent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy*
  • Employment / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / methods*