iACToR

International Association of CyberPsychology, Training, and Rehabilitation

Virtual Worlds, Disability, and New Cultures of the Embodied Self

People with disabilities have been @ the forefront of technology innovation.

What can their creative uses of and adaptions to online social interaction teach us?

Focusing on the experiences of people w/disabilities in “virtual worlds,” three-dimensional, immersive-VRE (virtual reality experience) online spaces -- where people w/disabilities can appear any way they choose and do things they may not be able to do in the physical world -- can be highly informative.

Take Jadyn's account for example. Jadyn spoke about the Yosemite sim. She explained about her former career as a university professor before she became disabled in 2001, she had been working on a book about Yosemite National Park.

Jadyn's research specialty was national parks and protected areas.

When she was unable to work, in a sense, she also "lost Yosemite".

"And it was a great loss to me. Yosemite is my favorite place in the whole wide world. I've been there so many times, I've lost count."

She has just recently created a virtual Yosemite National Park in Second Life, and it opened in July 2016 and is in the Nature & Parks section, along with her Shinzen Japanese Garden, also located at the Yosemite sim.

"I see it as, I lost Yosemite in 2001 when when I became disabled. But now, 15 years later, I have it back again!" said Jadyn.

Jadyn also mentioned the Ethnographia Project, which expresses her story of experience with disability and Second Life. "It's not quite complete yet though, a work in progress," said Jadyn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci91pjM1ae0

Enthusiatically she went on to describe Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) as "one full sim in size and there's horseback riding available here for free" and added, "it's a nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery, and meditate or visit with friend."

Additionally, within a (virtual) world sans Parkinson’s, Fran Swenson (Fran Serenade in Second Life) is featured in work touching on the fact it's part of a NSF funded study regarding:  how on-line environments affect social interaction and self-understanding as well as physical-world experiences of disability.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8GYs_9PjFs
More examples here:

This documentary has been submitted for competition in Viktor Main @ 2018 München DOK- Forum (Documentary Film Festival)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SODrRDJ-bQM&feature=youtu.be

Moreover, content can be developed around detailed visits to location like this one ( http://jauntingjen.com/how-to-spend-the-day-conquering-coronado-cave/ ) that can provide both safe exposure to fearful or anxiety inducing environments and afford people with disabilities the chance to visit a place they might not otherwise be able to.  See full Atlantic Mag piece here:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/second-life-le...

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