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Adults with autism virtually learn how to get the job
Date:5/7/2014

ng a job."

The program was a collaborative effort between Northwestern, SIMmersion LLC and Morris Bell, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine to develop and test the training program.

The trial included 16 individuals, ages 18 to 31, who received the job interview simulation training and 10 in the control group who did not. Those in the training group each practiced 15 to 20 job interviews with the virtual reality training.

Subjects completed two baseline and two follow up interviews with a trained actor playing a human resource employee. The videos of these role-plays were then scored by a human resources expert, who did not know which individuals received the intervention.

For the role-play scores, the training group improved by 11 percent compared to 1 percent for the control group. In self-confidence scores, the training group improved by 22 percent compared to 7 percent for the control group.

The computer or Internet-based training provides users with the opportunity to repeatedly engage in a simulated job interview with a virtual human resources staff member named Molly Porter. Trainees gain experience by speaking their responses to Molly's questions using voice recognition software.

Each of Molly's questions has 10 to 15 responses that have varying degrees of appropriateness and were created by a panel of vocational rehabilitation experts. The virtual environment also provides a job coach who gives in-the-moment feedback about whether the trainee is responding in a way that helps or hurts rapport with Molly. Trainees receive a score at the end of each interview with scores of 90 or better informing them that, "You've got the job!"

When an individual accesses Molly, the program has certain features so a person can identify a disability. The program will take that into account when it asks questions in the job interview. The program was designed to get increasingly difficult as
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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