The Benefits Of Video Modeling: Get Out Your Camera And Record!


As a teacher and behavior analyst, I have seen and created many social stories in my work.  A lot of parents and learners like these stories, especially when you incorporate real live pictures of the child to personalize it a bit.  However, while attending a symposium of research at the 2013 ABAI conference in Minnesota, Mary Jane Weiss commented that the research is not as robust for the use of social stories as it is with video modeling.  Moreover, social stories are being overused and video modeling, underused.  I was instantly inspired to get back on track with my long lost love of video modeling!

My interest in the use of videos began when I attended the OAR conference here in VA a few years ago.  Rebecca MacDonald, Ph.D.BCBA, and William Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, in “Teaching Individuals with Autism Using Video Modeling” found that it was an effective instructional tool and that children with delayed imitation skills can greatly benefit from this technique.  At this time, I was using video modeling primarily for social and play skills. I would record a client or their sibling performing the desired skill (play functionally with a toy, finding something else to play with when not able to do their preferred activity, asking for help when frustrated at homework, etc).  It was easy to do, considering the technology we have today right at our fingertips (my iphone and ipad both can record these short video segments).

At ABAI, Joshua Plavnic, from Michigan State University, presented his research that showed video modeling was effective in teaching manding to learners! What a great alternative to verbal prompting where the “prompter” and “listener” are the same person and creates a lot of confusion to the learner.  A bonus of the video modeling was that it allows the contingency (child asks for the toy, they get the toy) to be viewed by the learner.  No wonder the children in this study were mastering manding at a higher acquisition rate.

Obviously, one wants to ensure all the skills aforementioned can be generalized to the natural environment and more research in that area would be beneficial in regards to video modeling.  However, it is certain that videos are effective in teaching a variety of skills from manding to social etiquette.  Also, I am sure you will not have a problem motivating your child to watch a video on their ipad!

Watch an example of video modeling with play skills:


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