Video modelling, or using video-assisted learning for students with autism, is an effective and easy way to teach appropriate behaviors and social skills. With more and more students being diagnosed with autism every year, using practical and effective learning strategies is important for their success.
Thankfully, with the growing use of EdTech in classrooms and at home, these videos have become more accessible for people facing different difficulties and challenges.
The Autism Society defines autism as a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood. Autism is a “spectrum condition” meaning that it affects everyone differently and to a varying degree. But we often see in students with autism, especially younger learners, a tendency to have what are called performance or social skill deficits. This means they struggle with certain behaviors including social skills and academic performance.
Thankfully, there is a proven and effective learning tool out there to help these students out. Video modelling is one of the most effective learning tools to help, if not one of the best.
What is Video Modelling?
Video modelling is a teaching strategy in which the student watches a video demonstrating a desired behavior with the intent of mimicry. Video modelling is oftentimes used for students with autism, but it is a concept that can be used for children of all ages and for all types of behaviors.
Video modelling is more common than you think. Students and even adults use video modelling every day. Online tutorials, classes, and how-to videos are extremely popular because they are easy to follow and to the point. However, recipes may differ from video modelling in that there are written steps, while video modelling often only shows behaviors or examples.
Nonetheless video modelling is what is called an evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice means that it has been proven effective in controlled studies and backed by literature and research. Video modelling is an effective and easy-to-use learning tool to help students with autism in social skills and other behavioral expectations.
Why Videos are Important for Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a teaching method used to develop and strengthen communication skills, academic performance, as well as other social and self-help skills. Typically, we associate ABA therapy for children with autism. But ABA is not limited to only those children. It is useful for adults, as well as children with other types of performance deficits of varying degrees, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
ABA on its own is already successful for many students as it functions on the premises of positive reinforcement for correct behavior as well as redirection for behaviors that are inappropriate. But keep in mind, ABA may not work for every student because sometimes students with autism have different ways of doing things and that’s okay!
Going back, video modelling is so successful because it is easy. Not only that, but videos have been proven time after time to improve the learning experience all over the world. Not to mention, watching a fun and interactive video is much more entertaining than listening to lectures all day. Lastly, for these students seeing these videos can trigger cognitive desires of self-improvement. They see the behavior, like the outcome, and then have the desire to master said skill or behavior.
How to Implement Video-Assisted Learning for Students with Autism
Implementing video-assisted learning, or video modelling for students with autism is quite easy. In fact, today you can easily find pre-recorded videos, or make your own with a smartphone for free. But there are some strategies in the classroom you should consider when implementing videos.
Remember that this is a learning tool, therefore it is important to include other tools as well such as peer interaction, physical worksheets, smart technology, and others. Video modelling is also for targeting a behavior, not so much for teaching math. But that does not mean you cannot use videos to help teach basic core concepts or skills. Video modelling relies on what are called task analysis while video-assisted learning, may be more like a pedagogy.
Where to Find Educational Videos
One of the most difficult steps is finding good educational videos. While you can simply record your own, sometimes its nice to have some free resources already available for you. Video sharing platforms like YouTube are great for this, however these videos may not be created by certified teachers or be from ill-intended people targeting children. You need to thoroughly review the video and be very cautious of the themes, imagery, and messaging.
Thankfully, there are certain YouTube channels dedicated to help with video modelling such as Behavior Babe and other smaller creators in the educational sphere. There are also dedicated platforms that curate nothing but safe and certified educational videos for students. But be aware, some of these are paid platforms.
Video modelling for students with autism is a great solution for those experiencing challenging behaviors. It is great for social behaviors, routines, and even for productive play. Not to mention, with the availability of resources, research, and support surrounding it, it is easy to use and adaptable for many different types of situations.
If you are interested in learning more about helping your students with special needs, disabilities, or impairments, check out our piece on assistive technology in special education or learn more about providing the tools necessary for improving student performance.
You can also check out myViewBoard Clips offered by ViewSonic for a trusted educational video platform for other video-assisted learning needs.
Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month?
The Autism Society does a lot of great work to spread awareness about autism and how they can thrive in the world. They also offer a free Autism 101 course complete with a certificate. Or, you can check out their get involved tab to learn how you can become an advocate for all matters involving autism.