Second Life Teaches Life Lessons

Another project, called Second Future, was undertaken by nine adults with cerebral palsy, and seeks to provide a forum in which they can share in the everyday personal interactions that most people take for granted. The group of nine, who share a single Second Life avatar known as Wilde Cunningham, get to experience being around other people without being judged.

“Many of the real-world challenges are bypassed in Second Life,” said Jean-Marie Mahay, who works with the nine at an adult day-care center in Mattapan, Massachusetts. “Fewer folks have a problem hanging out with them, which is quite the opposite in real life. Also, due to their speech challenges, many would need help understanding them in real life, but in Second Life, I just type what they say and do what they want.”

Added Mahay, “They felt stigmatized by their disabilities, (which) kept them from the normal social integration we take for granted. Second Life removes both of these things.”

Mahay’s charges spend their in-world time on the small island known as Brigadoon, a place created for sufferers of autism and Asperger’s syndrome to try out the social interactions that are so hard for them in the real world. —Daniel TerdimanSecond Life Teaches Life Lessons  (Wired)