Video Modeling and Individuals with Autism..what the research says…

video modeling editedDo have a specific behavior that you would like to improve with your child? Try video modeling! Research from the last three decades states the benefits of utilizing video modeling for children with Autism. Video modeling is also effective for other varying disorders, specifically those that impact pragmatic and expressive disorders (e.g. ADHD, Social Communication Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, etc). I have been using video modeling for years and have found it be an excellent tool in teaching model behavior for pragmatics and reducing negeative behaviors.

I recently read an excellent article titled, Incorporating Video Modeling Into a School Based Intervention for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Kaitlyn P. Wilson (2013). The article compiles reviews from other research articles and provides an excellent tutorial in creating videos that can help improve social, communication, adaptive and play skills. This tutorial provides the reader with a practical tutorial to follow in order to create an optimal video. Additionally, the article provides suggestions about what you can do if the video is not effective and gives ways to modify or correct it.

What is video modeling? According to Wilson, K (2013), “Video modeling is the presentation of a model performing a target skill through the use of video technology. Video models typically picture a model demonstrating positive examples of a desired behavior. With each video model individualized to a child’s need’s and preferences, video modeling provides a targeted learning opportunity that is much more targeted and individualized than a child simply watching a mass-produced video or television program”.

What are the different types of video modeling? There is traditional video modeling (a video of a person performing a specific target skill), video self modeling (a video of the individual themselves performing the target skills) and point of view modeling (the video depicts a specific situation from their own point of view).

Why is video modeling optimal for children with Autism? Wilson, K (2013) explains that individuals with ASD have strengths in visual processing and that a video can also be motivating which can lead to increased engagement and success. Video modeling also does not require face to face interaction, which can be challenging for many individuals with Autism. Video modeling can be effective for many target skills including play, conversation/greetings, perspective taking, adaptive functional skills and social initiation (Ayres & Langone, 2005; Bellini & Akullian 2007; Shukla-Mehta et al., 2010).

According to Wilson, K (2013) here are some additional reasons why video modeling can help promote positive behavior:

  1. It can increase independence (video modeling provides an intervention that does not require as much adult prompting).
  2. It can be individualized easy!
  3. It is cost effective.
  4. It can be consistently implemented.
  5. It can be used across professional settings and with different disciplines and caregivers.

What is the process? According to Wilson, K (2013), here is the sequence of steps in creating a video:

  1. Choose a target skill. (e.g. this can be a greeting, transitioning to a specific activity, eating quietly at mealtime, etc) Wilson, K (2103) explains that video modeling is optimal when targeting an expressive skills, not a receptive skill. For example, it is more effective to target a goal such as conversation then comprehending vocabulary)
  2. Choose a model type. Are you using the child or another person? However, “studies of video modeling sugggest that using self as the model is most effective when the goal is to reduce problem behaviors or increase compliance” (Sherer et al., 2001)
  3. Choose a setting. The setting should be the setting in which you would like to see the model behavior performed. For example, if you are working on having a child have appropriate conversation at the dinner table, you would choose the the dinner table as your setting.
  4. Scripting the video model. How long is most effective? According to Shukla-Mehta et al, 2010, 3-5 minutes is recommended but other research states that as little as 35 seconds can also be effective. How many times do you need to show the target behavior? Research states 6-14 instances of the target behavior (MacDonald, Sacramone, Mansfield, Wiltz & Ahearn, 2009; Reagon, Higbee & Endicott, 2006).
  5. Record the video model. Key points are reducing the amount of distractions in the video so the target behavior takes the stage. Any loud noises, visual stimuli, etc can decrease the effectiveness of the video.
  6. Implementation of the video. Some professionals show the video before the target behavior is expected (this is called Video Priming) and others will show it at different times. The key to showing the video is doing it in a quiet and distraction free environment so that prompting and modeling can be provided if needed.

Do you want to learn more about Video Modeling? How To Use Video Modeling and Video Prompting

Helpful TipsHow can we relate Video Modeling to mealtime? There are some target behaviors:

  1. Appropriate conversation at the table
  2. Using utensils appropriately
  3. Eating quietly with your mouth closed
  4. Exhibiting social etiquette
  5. Taking turns in conversation
  6. Eating a healthy meal
  7. Asking for specific items appropriately (e.g. “Can I have the ketchup please?”, etc)
  8. Sitting nicely in the chair
  9. Add your own!

To check out the full article click here.


Wilson, Kaitlyn P. “Incorporating Video Modeling Into a School-Based Intervention for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch44.1 (2013): 105. Web.




Speak Your Mind