Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism Using Point-of-View Video Modeling

Article excerpt

Abstract

Video-modeling (VM) is a widely used instructional technique that has been applied to the education of children with developmental disabilities. One form of VM that lacks in-depth analysis is point-of-view video modeling (POVM). The current study investigated the use of POVM to teach three children diagnosed with autism to initiate and maintain a conversation with a conversant. Using a multiple baseline across scripts design, the participants were taught to engage in both eye contact and vocal behavior without the presentation of a vocal discriminative stimulus from the conversant. The treatment package included both the presentation of the target video and reinforcement of target behavior. Although this combination proved successful for increasing the social behavior of two participants, prompts were necessary to achieve acquisition for a third. These data suggest that while POVM may be a successful technique for teaching some social skills, limitations exist that should be further investigated.

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The effective use of video modeling to help remediate the behavioral excesses and deficits of children with autism is well documented (Bellini & Akullian, 2007). This strategy has been shown to help establish a variety of skills, including those related to joint attention (e.g., LeBlanc et al., 2003), play (e.g., D'Ateno, Mangiapanello, & Taylor, 2003), self help (e.g., Shipley-Benamou, Lutzker & Taubman, 2002), academic instruction (e.g., Kinney, Vedora, & Stromer, 2003), communication (Wert & Neisworth, 2003), and community survival (e.g., Haring, Kennedy, Adams & Pitts-Conway, 1987). Additionally, video modeling is potentially more effective than teaching through in vivo modeling (Charlop-Christy, Le & Freeman, 2000), and can improve the effectiveness of instructional prompts (Murzynski & Bourret, 2007).

The use of videos to teach social skills has been examined in a recently expanding body of literature. The majority of studies investigating social skills instruction via video models, however, focused on relatively simple behaviors. For example, Bidwell and Rehfeldt (2004) used video models and contingent praise to teach adults with severe disabilities to initiate an interaction by bringing a cup of coffee to an adult peer. Nikopoulos and Keenan (2004) demonstrated that video models alone were sufficient for teaching three children with autism to initiate an interaction by gesturing or vocally requesting an adult to join the child in play.

A few studies investigated video-based training for more complex social skills. Using video models alone, Maione and Mirenda (2006) obtained increases in the frequency of social initiations and responses of a young boy with autism during two different play contexts. The participant watched videos of two adults engaging in appropriate verbalizations and playing with the target activities. With the implementation of video modeling, the frequency of the participant's use of both scripted and unscripted verbalizations (including initiations and responses) increased during these play sessions. However, reinforcement, video feedback, and prompting were needed to increase behavior in a third play context. The authors reported that some of the modeled statements were novel, while others already existed in the child's repertoire. Charlop and Milstein (1989) showed that video models and reinforcement increased conversational responding for three children with autism. Prior to the intervention, each child exhibited utterances of three to four words in length. The children were taught scripted exchanges consisting of statements with up to eight words per utterance. Each scripted exchange involved an appropriate response to the conversant's question, followed by a reciprocal question to the conversant. While this target represents the most complex set of social behavior taught through video models to date, all of the exchanges were initiated by the conversant. …