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June 15, 2022

The Metaverse Can Make It Easier to Support Neurodiversity at Work

Companies can support neurodiverse staff to do their best work by offering virtual experiences. Scalable exhibits can be branded and customized for any kind of engagement.
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For people like Jacob Martin, a young engineer in the Southeast US, XR technology offers a way to move towards professional goals and connect with others. 

Martin identifies as neurodiverse, and his recent experience in the Virbela MindGym showcases how companies can support different types of minds with virtual experiences at work. 

What Is Neurodiversity?

To a certain extent, we’re all neurodiverse. The idea describes the human condition of experiencing and interacting in different ways. For some, like Martin, it also refers to specific neurological conditions, like where one falls on the autism spectrum or how easy it is to maintain attention and focus. 

“Some, but not all of my symptoms include acute attention to detail, ardent focus with the intent of learning all information related to a subject, and strong abstract thinking,” says Martin. “I have a deep sense of empathy even when I don’t understand cues.”

Neurodiverse individuals have potential that’s similar to anyone with comparable education and career experience, but how companies support that potential—and benefit from it—may vary. 

For example, any developer may have sharp skills they can apply to any coding challenge. Some companies may never see their neurodiverse developers truly shine, though, because they lack the frameworks that get the best work from them. 

In this regard, offering frameworks that encourage and empower a variety of minds becomes a business necessity. Everyone has ways in which they work best. Companies that can provide this type of flexibility alongside clear objectives and transparent initiatives are more likely to discover the deep wells of talent within a wider group of people. 

How the Metaverse Can Help

In the MindGym, one of Virbela’s specially developed community experiences, you’ll be guided through a series of learning and gamified mental exercises of various kinds. Just like at a physical gym, there are options for a range of experience levels and interests. 

The MindGym makes space for mental wellness as part of the work day. Part brain boost, part mindfulness break, the community space is designed like an old-school gym. Workout stations mirror the way weight equipment is typically set up inside a fitness center. 

In this case, each station features a screen with a video, activity, or game. The exercises are designed to be fun and engaging while positively impacting brain health via a deeper awareness of topics like executive function, neuroplasticity, and neurodiversity.

“We wanted to have something for everyone at the MindGym,” said Sarah Segrest, VP of Community at Virbela. “The goal is to entice the broadest range of people to find the exercises that suit their needs and interests. Many brilliant people in the brain science and technology community, like the experts at BrainCo, helped to inspire interesting, engaging, science-backed content.” 

For Martin, the experience was engrossing and enriching. Martin uses a VR headset when he enters Virbela’s Open Campus, although headsets aren’t required to experience Virbela. A desktop with a wifi connection is enough to sign up, enter the world, explore, and get to know people.

“The Mind Gym offers sensory-based, self-administered sessions that are catered to neurodivergent and neurotypical brain structures and learning styles,” he shares. “The approach is great for a single or multiple users to privately have a WebXR experience. The more I have learned about it, the more impressed I am.” 

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For more on how to develop virtual community experiences at your company, reach out to sales@virbela.com. You can also follow Virbela on LinkedIn to stay current on the latest trends in XR. 

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