Invirtua’s 3D Digital Puppeteer™ to be introduced at the 2015 National Autism Society Conference, July 8 – 11 in Denver, CO
(Carson City, NV – June 30, 2015)
A new computer system using interactive avatars to help those on the autism spectrum with social, conversational and motivational skills will be introduced at the 2015 National Autism Society Conference, July 8 – 11 in Denver, CO.
The Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer TM – created by performance animation guru Gary Jesch – features live, animated 3D characters that can be operated much like a digital puppet show, demonstrating positive behaviors in an entertaining way. Children with autism can also easily learn to use the simple controls and communicate their feelings through the avatar characters. This exciting new therapeutic tool is for use by autism therapists, autism treatment centers and parents of children with autism.
“Helping people with autism really matters to Invirtua,” said Jesch. “From the day they receive their system, they belong to a group of users, therapists and scientists where they can share their experiences and learn new methods. We are there to support them every step of the way and to keep them safe in the process.”
Experts in the autism arena agree that the Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer TM has promise for treating children with autism and other learning challenges.
Enid Webb M.A. CCC-SLP, a speech pathologist for the last 17 years, has been using the Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer TM since October 2014. “This is an incredible tool for working with kids with autism,” said Webb. “It has changed the way I work. They are very visual learners and their brains think in animation. Communicating through the avatar removes the authority figure and makes it easier to address certain issues as well as teach and practice very specific skills. It’s a powerful reinforcer and a teaching instrument. It has truly been life-changing in my practice.”
Professor Ian C. Hale, Ph.D. FCIS, author (The Insider’s Guide to Autism and Asperger’s, et al), consultant and speaker, stated “Closely following the development and clinical testing of the Invirtua software package, it is, in my professional experience of 30 years, the best communicative aide available to the autistic community. The software allows people with autism to express and communicate their feelings in a unique and new environment. Invirtua provides an outstanding, economical and multi-versatile tool equally useful at home, for teachers and the psychological profession. I recommend it 100%.”
According to Dr. Tom Buggey, a researcher with 22 years of experience in modeling, an established intervention for autism, “One of the most effective ways to teach someone what to do is to show him or her how to do it. Live modeling is when a child imitates a person who is demonstrating the successful performance of a task in real life. Video modeling is when a child imitates a person who has been videotaped successfully performing the task.”
“Invirtua’s program involves modeling through an avatar,” Buggey continued. “At present, there is little direct research on the topic; however, there is research on components of Invirtua that make me think it has the potential to become a powerful tool for teaching children, especially those with autism, for whom we have so few effective methods.”
“Invirtua’s technology intersects with an established intervention that delivers rapid improvement, great maintenance, and generalization to other skills,” said Buggey. “The use of video also allows therapists to teach in an area that is inherently challenging for persons with autism – social interaction. Invirtua takes this one step further by allowing the user to become the controller. The software allows the user to control all aspects of the avatar’s performance, including the facial emotions and eye contact. This alone is an important, groundbreaking aspect of the program.”
The complete Invirtua 3D Digital Puppeteer TM system, including live animation software, computer and controls, and several characters is priced at $2,790. For more information, visit http://animationforautism.com or call 888-766-6677.
Invirtua’s mission is to provide the ability for those living with autism to improve their conversational, social and motivational skills using interactive cartoon characters with CHOPS Live Animation computer technology. In addition, Invirtua has formed a community resource for therapists, speech pathologists, behavioral analysts, parents and caregivers who are interested in affinity therapy studies.
Founding Advisory Board members include Dr. Tom Buggey, Dr. Jay Lombard, ABPathfinder CEO Jeff Blackwood, author and consultant Dr. Stephen Shore, speaker/consultant and autism advocate Dr. Ian C. Hale, neurodiversity advocate Michael Leventhal, attorney Ken Caldwell, community leader/teacher Karen Beasley, speech-language pathologist Enid Webb and Kathy Hooven, Justice System consultant at ASERT, Drexel University. http://animationforautism.com
About CHOPS & Assoc. Live Animation
Gary Jesch is a pioneer in performance animation, establishing CHOPS & Assoc. Live Animation in 1996. As the “man behind the curtain,” he brings his virtual presenters to life, using real-time animation, motion capture and unusual video displays. As an artist, Jesch creates custom virtual characters in addition to performing at tradeshows, corporate special events and award ceremonies around the world. http://www.chops.com
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