July 07, 2018 08:00:36 Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek. In his denim jacket and printed t-shirt, Bede Gow has the cool, quiet disposition of a young man ready to start living an independent life.

But the 18-year-old has never travelled alone on a train. Navigating public transport can be daunting for people living with an intellectual disability, but soon Mr Gow will be able to tackle the challenges of train travel without stepping foot in a station.

He’s part of an Endeavour Foundation program using virtual reality (VR) to help people living with a disability practise real-life situations. Through a trial project support and operations manager Andrew Chant has trained 20 people how to use the technology.

He said it was not unusual for his clients to get overwhelmed by simple things, like handling money or catching public transport. “Some people may have issues around social anxiety or they may not function very well in the community with lots of crowds of people around,” Mr Chant said.

“[This is] a safe, quiet environment where they can experience the task in a simulation before actually doing it in the real world.” Participants fitted with VR goggles, headphones and a gaming controller listen to tips and information to pass through each phase of the simulation. Read more from…

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