The purpose of this case study was to examine the physiological and psychosocial effects of an immersive virtual reality (VR) system in a female, young adult with right side paralysis following a left hemisphere brain bleed in order to determine the usefulness of immersive VR for children with physical disabilities, in particular, cerebral palsy (CP). The current study consisted of six sessions over a span of three weeks, with each session lasting approximately 45 minutes. Physiological factors (upper body mobility, heart rate variability) were assessed via a hand use questionnaire and a heart rate monitor, while psychosocial factors (e.g. positive mood) were assessed through post-session debriefing discussions with the participant. All measures were completed at each of the six VR sessions, with the exception of the hand use questionnaire, which was administered at baseline, and post-intervention. The VR programs selected were specifically chosen to engage upper body and arm movements. Descriptive analyses and coding of interviews were conducted to examine changes throughout the study sessions. The participant reported an increase in hand mobility and psychosocial well-being, such as improvement in mood, as a result of her participation in the VR sessions. The results of the current study suggest that the use of movement-specific VR programs may be beneficial to children with physical disabilities and CP, although due to the single-subject design of the study, further research is warranted.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Education and Human Performance
School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Orlando (Main) Campus
Length of Campus-only Access
Fralish, Bethany D., "Improved Physiology and Psychosocial Well-Being for Children with Physical Disabilities Through Virtual Reality Immersion" (2017). Honors in the Major Theses. 255.