Virtual World Provides Haven For Those With Special Needs

University of California, Irvine anthropology professor Tom Boellstorff studied LaScala and hundreds of other players with disabilities in his research into how they use Second Life for social interaction that often escapes them in non-virtual settings. Boellstorff started playing in 2004 under the avatar Tom Bukowski. He’d become interested in studying new virtual worlds with the same methods he used in the field as an anthropologist observing gay and lesbian culture in Indonesia. Boellstorff found that physical world research techniques transferred to the virtual one, including participant-observation, a method used by cultural anthropologists. Read more on DisabilityScoop.

A child participates in an applied behavior analysis session. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

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