069 Using Virtual Reality to combat health care patient anxiety

A phlebotomist is about to stick a needle in your arm. They’re going to draw blood. And you hate needles. And the site of blood. Some people tell you, it’s no big deal. But you know better! Well, now, you don’t necessarily need to feel the anxiety you normally do when seeing the doctor, or, in this example, get blood drawn. Why? Virtual Reality.

Don McMahon, an assistant professor of special education at Washington State University’s College of Education, as well as the director of a virtual and augmented reality lab on the Pullman campus, has a new technique. It was discovered because of a trip to the doctor’s office with his daughter. Virtual reality can actually help reduce anxiety among healthcare patients! The integration of this was obvious and Don explains how a local hospital saw it and has implemented it.


There’s a new program for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. It’s called WSU ROAR. The WSU stands for Washington State University. ROAR stands for Responsibility, Opportunity, Advocacy, and Respect. If those also sound like VALUES, you may be right! We talk to co-founder Brenda Barrio about how WSU ROAR gives a college experience to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

038 Evidence-based practice in SPED

We’ve all heard the phrase “best practice,” or, as is often used after research, “evidence-based practice.”

Not all current teachers know what that best practice may be because they are uninformed about the newest research, or professional development hasn’t been provided to them. That certainly holds true for special education.

We met up with Yun-Ru Hsiao from WSU Tri-Cities, and she goes over some of the latest evidence-based practices that exist in special education, specifically with students on the autism spectrum.