Parents and guardians currently considering choices when it comes to reopening schools during the height of a deadly epidemic may have an additional challenge: children who are afraid to return to the classroom. Feelings of restlessness are common and anticipated in times of change or transition. This is especially true for children and adolescents returning to school or for children entering kindergarten for the first time. This transition can be painful and challenging for the whole family! Before the first day of school, the nervous child may cry, cling, complain of stomachaches or headaches, be grumpy, become moody or irritable, and become withdrawn. Whenever children attend VR therapy, they first learn coping skills that help them stay calm in stressful situations. Once they are satisfied with these approaches, they move on to virtual reality therapy. They view computer-generated environments and use avatars to experience relationships with other youth and adults.

Symptoms and Characteristics of School Phobia

Young people who suffer from school paranoia are often sentimental, insecure, and highly susceptible. They want to be close to their parents and tend to be nervous about separation.

Parents may imagine that fear of school is likely to occur whenever children :

  • Have physical signs just before having to leave for school, such as nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting or extreme exhaustion for no particular medical reason
  • Becoming clingy, cranky or showing signs of worry when away from loved ones or parents
  • Possess extreme concern for being alone or illogical fears
  • Recurring nightmares and difficulty sleeping
  • Have signs on school days, but they are okay on weekends and school vacations.
  • Children with school phobia may refuse to go to school for extended periods.

Context of Innovation Based on Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is a high-tech interface that allows users to subject themselves, via a computer generated environment, to a monitored situation. This innovation has been progressively utilized within the mental health treatment plus inside the clinical study. VR aspires to a parallel realism and generates a society that is both practical and mesmerizing. Users experience VR whenever they believe the hypothesis is precisely simulating the real-world experience it is attempting to reinvent. The logic of existence in virtual reality is made possible through the use of expertise such as head-mounted exhibits, synthesized sounds, motion-sensing gloves, and so on. Which allow to awaken many senses and to dynamically probe the virtual setting.

Virtual Reality Therapy: What is it?

VR treatment develops as a sophisticated solution that allows children to face their fears in a harmless and realistic situation, but in a way that offers them control. Virtual reality therapy can be used in all age groups and can be adapted to the child’s age as they grow.
In addition, this therapy can be adapted to contrast the involvement of school phobia situations. For example, one child may be anxious about taking exams, while others fear relationships with their peers. Both children can be helped by VR therapy, which is a blend of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and in vivo exposure treatment, but with the latest technology.

How Does Virtual Reality Therapy Help School Nervousness?

While many children are happy to return to school and be reunited with their peers, for many, a new school term/year is synonymous with distress and academic nervousness. Nevertheless, what if, your child could safely enter their classroom, mingle with their new peers and teachers, and learn operational approaches to handle the worrisome circumstances they fear at school? With VR therapy, this can be done effortlessly. Researchers and therapists say the good news is that virtual reality expertise and usability is rapidly improving through its industrial and gaming applications – so its prospect as a mental health remedy is just beginning.

What happens during Virtual Reality Therapy?

Research has proven that virtual reality therapy essentially “reshapes” the brain to amplify the parts concerned with attention and friendship. This allows for better comprehension and awareness of social cues, better understanding of grip and dialogue, and extra control whenever confronted with actual school problems. In research after the children underwent VR exposure therapy, scans revealed that sections of the brain related to social skills and regions that exchange information in social interactions are enhanced.
This visually refreshing and responsive approach to school phobia offers a dynamic podium that can manufacture an unlimited number of fear circumstances. The pursuit of a child’s precise uncertainties offers evocative life-like circumstances with instant reaction, greatly enriching a child’s ability to manage tension.

Children and the Treatment of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) involves customized virtual environments that have been carefully developed to support exposure therapy for nervousness states. Through virtual reality, the child is subjected to frightening conditions in a safe, managed environment, rather than taking the child into the real environment or having the youth imagine it. The virtual situation is supervised by a therapist, which guarantees a complete regulation of the subjection to the feared state. TERV allows the therapist to influence situations to suit the individual during a typical therapy period and within the limits of the therapist’s location.

In Brief

Virtual reality-enhanced cognitive-behavioral therapy may be a useful adjunct tool for treating school phobia. The dominant component of this treatment is exposure therapy, which involves helping clients become calmer about the state of affairs that frightens them. VR technology places the client in computer-generated environments in which they experience a classroom and school setting. Initially, clients learn how to cope with the situation and are then put into the VR situation. Clients can practice in this virtual world until they are satisfied with the experience and their responses.
If a complicated treatment tactic is needed, virtual reality therapy is directly pooled with other teaching techniques to provide a comprehensive engagement strategy.

References :

https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017fall/virtual-reality-helps-calm-kids-anxiety-during-treatment.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421394/

https://highlandspringsclinic.org/blog/4-causes-of-back-to-school-anxiety-and-how-to-help/

https://www.anxietytreatmentnyc.org/specialized-programs.cfm

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