No AccessAmerican Journal of Speech-Language PathologyResearch Article23 Mar 2023

Speech-Language Pathologists' Views of Using Virtual Reality for Managing Cognitive-Communication Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury


    Using virtual reality (VR) to support rehabilitation is an emerging area of research that may offer people with communication disorders a stable and safe communication environment to practice their communication skills. There are currently no VR applications that have been designed to assess or treat cognitive-communication disorders (CCDs) following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Therefore, this study aimed to explore the views of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who work with people who have a TBI to generate ideas and considerations for using VR in rehabilitation for CCDs. VR researchers were included to provide expert advice about VR technology.


    A total of 14 SLPs and three VR specialists participated in an online interview or focus group. Semistructured discussions explored participants' perspectives related to potential ideas for VR use and any perceived barriers and facilitators to VR implementation for managing CCDs following TBI. Data were video- and audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis.


    Three main themes were generated from thematic analysis: VR is a tool that could enhance clinical practice, the need to consider and navigate potential red flags, and solutions to pave the way forward. Suggestions to overcome perceived barriers to VR use were also provided.


    Participants expressed interest in using VR for rehabilitation of CCDs following TBI. However, potential barriers and risks to use should be considered prior to implementation. The findings offer guidance to support future research and development of VR in this field.

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