Daniel (Dan) Johnston

PhD Student

Email: dij502@york.ac.uk
Twitter: twitter.com/DansResearch
ORCID: 0000-0002-6427-5383


  • Spatial Audio
  • Virtual Reality
  • Exposure therapy


Children with autism experience problems in social-emotional interaction, communication and display repetitive behaviours. Additionally, they often have difficulties in processing everyday sensory information, with a particular issue being extreme hypersensitivity to sounds. Unfortunately, common environmental sounds (e.g. vacuum cleaners or toilet flushing) can trigger severe fear-related behaviours such as crying or hitting the ears. Presently, the most successful therapy to tackle this is systematic desensitisation. Based on the idea that the child is afraid of the sound, it involves gradually exposing them to the feared noise during positive activities such as play. Dan’s research looks to create realistic representations of these sounds using virtual 3D audio and incorporating them into computer games, creating fun and engaging environments for exposure therapy. By using this technology therapy could become more accessible, improving quality of life for the child and their family.

Associated Projects

  • Soundfields

Highlighted Publications

“SoundFields: A Virtual Reality Game Designed to Address Auditory Hypersensitivity in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder” – Daniel Johnston, Hauke Egermann and Gavin Kearney

“Measuring the behavioral response to spatial audio within a multi-modal virtual reality environment in children with autism spectrum disorder” – Daniel Johnston, Hauke Egermann and Gavin Kearney