Guardian Spirit is an 501c3 not for profit company founded in Billings, Montana in 2012. The founder of Guardian Spirit is Marcus Morris, a high functioning autistic father of two amazing little boys who are also on the autism spectrum.
Guardian Spirit’s mission is to create innovative technological solutions that drastically lower the cost of treatment for the social and vocational issues faced by those on the autism spectrum, while promoting a community centric method of support by and for those on the autism spectrum.
The original premise of the company is based on the life experience of the founder, Marcus Morris as he used Second Life ™ as a tool to learn valuable real world vocational and social skills rather than simply escapism. Marcus reasoned that if finding a career and a cause could improve his quality of life so much than perhaps it could do the same for others.
Guardian Spirit intends to use virtual world training and community building to facilitate job skills training where possible, social interaction and peer to peer support.
Some examples of how this program will work:
We can do practice interviews in real time, with the client dressing their avatar in advance for the interview as well as them being in control of how they sit, stand, lean and ultimately even what facial expressions they are exhibiting.
This will allow us to offer feedback in a way that would normally be painful to hear. In this example posted below you will see a “bad interview” and a “good interview”.
Originally, the bad interview was just meant to be “Interview.” I personally set up the Medeena avatar for this presentation. Once the team saw the original interview, all of the little things that I would never have thought of as someone on the spectrum was brought to my attention. Watch the “Bad Interview” first and write down what Medeena if she were an active client could have done differently.
Keep in mind that once we have our own proprietary software developed that all interactions in the virtual setting will be fully 3d rendered and in real time with both peers and volunteer staff.
After receiving feedback, I reshot the interview with the changes that were suggested by the team and the following video is the improved interview.
In this setting, clients have the freedom to dress and appear how they wish. They can try and fail as many times as it takes until they find their way to success. Finding the balance between self expression and social acceptability is always a fine line no matter who you are but it is even more so when you are on the autism spectrum.
Eventually we will also work in a “minigame” for lack of a better term. This new interface will create a battleship’esque game where you are actively judging the facial expression and body language of those you are interacting with.
These videos are proof of concept and are not functional even though the coding does exist.
Once the Heads up Display “HuD” is ready, your avatar will present the non verbal signals you choose to send during conversations with other people. You can practice and observe those non verbal social interactions that we on the spectrum often struggle with.