Posted by: myautisticmuslimchild | April 21, 2010


[Portions of this article were taken with permission from a power-point presentation by Mark DiConsiglio]

Video Modeling (VM), Video Self-Modeling (VSM), and Video Prompting can be used successfully to teach learners with autism spectrum (ASD) a variety of adaptive behaviors.

Individuals with ASD often have difficulties learning many of the skills required to function effectively in home, school and community. Difficulty in interacting normally with others is often demonstrated by trouble exhibiting speech, language, and communication difficulties; insisting on routines and environmental uniformity; engaging in self stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors; and responding atypically to sensory stimuli. In some cases they might be exhibiting aggression and self injurious behavior.

So what is Video Modeling? VM is a procedure in which a child is shown a videotape of a model performing a target behavior or completing a desired task. The video tape is shown to the child at the beginning of each opportunity or session.  After viewing the entire videotape, (which can be a few minutes , depending on the target behavior, like how to brush teeth, etc.), the child is given an opportunity to perform the model behavior or complete the task that was demonstrated in the videotape. Usually it is necessary to conduct several sessions – one or two per day for several days before the learner will consistently perform the target behavior at a high level of proficiency.

There are three key factors of video modeling:

1). The videotape shows a model performing a desired behavior.

2).The learner is shown the videotape prior to each teaching session.

3).After watching the entire videotape, the learner is provided with an opportunity to perform the behavior or to complete the task.

Now we come to another question, what is Video Prompting?

With Video Prompting the child is shown a series of video clips in sequence. It begins by showing the learner a video clip depicting only the first target behavior.  After watching the first video clip, the learner is given the opportunity to perform that behavior or complete the first step of a task.  After that opportunity, the child is shown the next video clip in the sequence and so on until all of the target behaviors have been shown.

Video modeling shows the entire video, video prompting involves breaking the videotape into segments or clips and showing those one at a time.

What is Video Self-Modeling?

This allows the child to view themselves performing a skill or a task that is slightly beyond their present ability. VSM interventions typically fall withing two categories:

1) positive self review (PSR) and 2) video feed-forward (Dowrick, 1999)

Video modeling, when it is used properly, can be highly effective in improving behavior and teaching a range of useful skills to learners with ASD.

These teachings can include:

1). self care

2).Daily living




Implementation does not require the same amount of instructional expertise as other direct instructional procedures.(Duker , 2004) It will ensure more instructional consistency with video-based material. It can be less labor intensive than direct instruction as well. The same equipment can be used to create and present materials for a vast number of skills and behaviors.

Video modeling has been used with learners of various ages and varying types and degrees of disability. It has been used successfully with preschool, elementary-aged children, as well as adolescents and adults.

Learners with little or no speech, children with a mental age of less than 2 years old have learned new skills through the use of these techniques.  The ability to imitate an observed model could be considered a prerequisite for the use of video modeling. The Video Modeling technique best suited to learners who have demonstrated the ability to learn through observation.

So why is VM so effective for children with ASD?  It incorporates visual learning, increases attention, decreases anxiety, increases motivation, and increases self awareness. Here is a sample clip demonstrating learning turn taking:

As TEMPLE GRANDIN  said from “Thinking in Pictures”

“I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete sound, which run like a VCR tape  in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures. Language-based thinkers often find this phenomenon difficult to understand, but in my job as an equipment designer for the livestock industry, visual thinking is a tremendous advantage. Visual thinking has enabled me to build entire system in my imagination.”

Part two will cover steps of VM, selecting target behaviors, writing the scripts.


  1. Video modeling has been the most effective tool for my son – he has learned every type of skill imaginable – and it was the first break through tool for him. He started using VM at age 4 and at age 12 we are now using it for sports. I highly recommend trying this tool ….. not only is it a great tool, but it is also guilt free time for a caregiver – knowing that while watching tv, your child is learning! and not watching junk tv,.


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