Development and Pilot Evaluation of a Virtual Environment for Assessment of Way-Finding Ability in Persons With Neurological DisabilityBy Reid, Denise; Wan, Cecilia; Hebert, Debbie; Technology and Disability, Vol. 21, No. 1-2, pp. 43-52
Publication Date: 2009
Paper outlines the development of a computerized test designed to assess wayfinding skills in persons with neurological disabilities. The test, called Virtual City, is based on the theoretical premise that a right brain, visual spatial model and a left brain, verbal cognition model are important to the study of wayfinding. The assessment comprises two test modules: a visual map and verbal instructions in a simplified virtual-environment representation of city streets. A pilot normative and usability study with Virtual City was conducted with 12 university students without disabilities, followed by a preliminary validation study using 26 healthy adults aged 25 to 68 years and 9 adults with neurological disabilities aged 20 to 59 years. Participants of the validation study completed the two test modules, map following and verbal instructions, on two separate occasions. Participants with neurological disabilities required more time to complete both modules when compared to healthy participants. In contrast to healthy participants, those with neurological disorders required more time and made more errors when completing the verbal instructions test than the visual map test. The exploration of the right-left hypothesis on the map versus verbal instruction test in relation to the brain lesion site in the neurological population was not found to be significant. The authors conclude that Virtual City shows promise in differentiating adults with neurological damage from healthy adults, and may enable clinicians to identify whether certain patients tend to rely more on visual or verbal cues during wayfinding. Study limitations and implications for further research are discussed.
Published by: IOS Press (Website:http://www.iospress.nl)
Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) (Web Site: http://www.aaate.net )
Link to text: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/3503220184061j41/