Using video modeling for autism treatment
A new technique called “video modeling” is being used by educators at the New England Center for Children in Southborough, Massachusetts to teach play. On a video monitor, hands move toy figurines throughout the paces of the story, as an off-camera voice narrates the dialogue. Once the video ends, the child who watched it is supposed to play with the exact toys seen in the video (readily assembled) in the exact same way and saying the exact same lines – as he or she had been shown. Normally-developing children play out imaginative scenarios; however, children with autism do not. For this reason, they have to be taught how to play this way. The main objective is for them to understand the concept well enough so that it can expand their imagination.
Video modeling is merely one small part of the center’s whole approach, called “applied behavioral analysis”. This approach engages children in learning new behaviors and changing disruptive or harmful ones through continuous positive reinforcement. “We plug them into that wherever they’re at,” said Rebecca MacDonald, director of the preschool program.