Thursday, March 1, 2012

Using Video Self-Modeling with Students with ASD: Well Worth the Effort!

It is widely known that students with ASD benefit from ABA interventions.  There are numerous teaching strategies that can be a part of ABA interventions including classical behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement, shaping, prompting/fading procedures, task analysis, discrete trials, etc.  There are also contemporary behavioral teaching strategies that have increased empirical support.  One such strategy is video self-modeling.  This entails getting a short video clip of the student demonstrating the skill you would like the student to perform independently.  You then show the student the video immediately before the student is expected to perform the skill.  You may be thinking, “If the student doesn’t already perform the skill, how can you get a video of the student doing so?” The answer to that question is this:  You would use “behind the scenes” prompting so that the video shows the child performing the skill, but not the prompts taking place to elicit the desired behaviors.  Also, you would record segments of the student performing the skill, and then use editing to combine the clips into one video that shows the student performing the skill from beginning to end.  While this may sound like too much work, the results are often worth it.  One of my graduate students recently conducted an action research project using video self-modeling with three middle school students with moderate-severe autism to teach them to perform new skills independently.  She used a tiered intervention approach in which she first used a modified social story with each student.  While all students made gains during the modified social story intervention, only one student mastered the skill during that phase of the intervention.  The other two students then participated in a video self-modeling intervention and quickly mastered the skills being targeted.  They needed the video model to move them to full independence.  While it did take my graduate student some time to develop the videos, she certainly felt the gain the students made to full independence was worth the work.  Another benefit of using video-self modeling is that it allows students to learn new skills without needing extensive amounts of adult prompting.  The video itself serves as the prompts, and it is much easier to fade the use of the video then to fade adult prompts the student may get dependent upon.  I would love to hear some success stories of using video self-modeling with students with ASD, so please share your experiences.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that I love about using video self-modeling is that it can be faded so easily. However, all students have "bad days." If you have a self-modeling video already made, you can show it on those not-so-great days even after the intervention has ceased. It lets the student see themselves having success with a task, which can then motivate them to perform the task better on that tough day. For example, if you implement a VSM intervention for a student who has behavior problems in the cafeteria, and the student's behavior improves as a result of that intervention, then you can fade the VSM out. But what happens when that student is having a really rough day in the classroom three months later? If you took a few minutes right before lunch to show the video of that student displaying appropriate behaviors in the cafeteria, then it can visually remind the student what is expected of them during lunch time and that they CAN have success. While it can be slightly challenging to make these videos, they are a resource that can be used over and over again.

    I also love that technology is becoming more portable. This allows teachers to take their electronic copies of social stories and VSM interventions on community-based learning trips, into inclusion classrooms, and even email them to parents. It is a known fact that students with ASD tend to have difficulty with generalizing skills. Having these resources on hand outside of the classroom can be a huge benefit for the students and parents.