Behavioral Interventions and Video Self Modeling

            Video self modeling has been shown to be an effective intervention for behavioral skills. VSM is gaining attention as a way to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) acquire target behavioral skills.In a meta-analysis of 23 studies, Bellini, Akullian and Hopf (2007) found video modeling and video self modelingwere effective in addressing social-communication skills, functional skills, and behavioral functioning in children and adolescents with ASD. They conclude that VM and VSM show promise as effective evidence-based strategies for individuals with ASD.

            Graetz et al. (2006) state that “VSM may be most effective for students who are visual learners and are motivated by watching television” (p. 47). For those individuals with autism who are engaged by media, computers and television, VSM can leverage on a natural interest. Students who find social interactions challenging may also benefit from this type of intervention that does not require much interaction and uses oneself as a model. Researchers note that individuals with ASD often spontaneously imitate actions and memorize and repeat dialogues seen on video and television. Video self-modeling is a way to utilize and harness this natural proclivity towards engagement with video to achieve behavioral and instructional objectives (Nunes et al., 2010). For video-based interventions that target behaviors, it is important to identify behaviors that are observable and measureable (Banda, Matuzny, & Turkan, 2007). 

Planning a VSM Project

            There are two main steps to creating a self modeling video, filming a short video of an individual engaging in target skills and behaviors with assistance as needed and editing the video to illustrate only the desired actions and behaviors. Before filming, it is important to consider the purpose and plan for the project, by identifying target skill(s) or behavior(s) and giving thought to how, when and where to film the individual. For example, with a reading intervention, it is important to find a quiet area where a child can read comfortably and without distraction. With a behavioral intervention, it is important to plan ahead and to make a short script of storyboard of the action. Because these videos are filmed and edited in short spans of time, each individual video does not have to be perfect.

Video Self Modeling Intervention Process

  1. Identify the target skill or behavior (e.g. reading fluency, how to share)
  2. Develop a plan for filming a short 2-3 minute video; the plan can be a storyboard or script in some cases
  3. Determine what the “scaffolds” are (coaching provided by the teacher/tutor)
  4. Videotape the student performing the target skill or behavior with scaffold; for some behavioral interventions, such as a video on “how to share,” it is appropriate to involve peers in the video in order for the student to be in an authentic interaction
  5. Edit the video, cutting out the portions with the scaffold
  6. Have the student view the edited video in which the target behavior is being successfully performed

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