Virtual Reality among Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Literature Review




evidence-based therapeutic recreation practice, virtual reality, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD)


With the capability of virtual reality (VR) interventions outside the field of therapeutic recreation to produce meaningful outcomes in various domains for individuals with varying disabilities, it would be valuable to establish VR as an evidence-based therapeutic recreation practice that could greatly benefit individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). This systematic literature review explores VR evidence-based practices with individuals with IDD in various fields. Twenty-two databases were searched in October 2020, and 32 articles were reviewed. Thematic topics included: VR increases skills; VR motivates; VR to support traditional services; most effective types of VR; suitability and accessibility of VR; complimentary support for VR implementation and successful engagement; VR challenges, lessons learned, and needed improvements; and full potential of VR not yet realized. Results revealed a variety of implications and future recommendations that support future research to test VR with individuals with IDD and establish evidence-based therapeutic recreation practice.

Author Biography

Lindsey Ryan Oakes, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS, Texas State University Department of Health and Human Performance

Dr. Lindsey R. Oakes, LRT/CTRS, is an Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University. Dr. Oakes’ research focuses on social inclusion of individuals with varying abilities, as well as inclusion facilitation and evidence-based therapeutic recreation practice for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.