Autism Video Modeling – 3 Tips To Take Action!

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What Is Video Modeling For Autism?

Video modeling is an effective strategy for autistic students. Research has shown that autism and video modeling can help with teaching new skills or routines. Personally, I’ve seen it improve routines and skills at the preschool level. I have a student who has a hard time with the transition from the playground to the bus. A quick video showing a favorite character (Batman) “walking” to the bus did the trick. It worked immediately. Keep in mind that it is not always going to work that quickly, but even if it takes some time, it is so worth it. You can also listen to me chat about video modeling in Episode 15 of The Autism Little Learners Podcast!

There are a couple of different types of video modeling. One type is “self-modeling” (autistic child is the model in the video). Another type is “point of view modeling” (what the routine or skill looks like from the child’s point of view). There is also “basic video modeling” which shows other adults or peers as the subject of the video. Follow the 3 tips below and you can take action on autism and video modeling today!

Tip 1: Use Video Modeling For Routines

Video modeling can be used to teach a variety of skills. At the preschool level, it is especially helpful when teaching routines. This includes existing routines that are difficult for a child or new routines. For a child with autism who has a hard time with transitions, video modeling can show them what to do. One of my students was struggling with the transition into school in the morning. The special education teacher who I team teach with made a video of Batman walking down the hall to the classroom. When the child arrived at school that day, she showed him the video and he was able to walk down to the classroom. Some other routines that are great for video modeling include toileting, washing hands, playing with toys, turn-taking, as well as any transition. Take action and identify a routine or skill you want to try video modeling with!

Tip 2: Don’t Overthink The Process

If you are like me, you like things you make for your students have to be perfect. Let’s throw that idea out the window right now. Video modeling for autism does not have to be perfect. In fact, you probably won’t even need to edit the video. Don’t overthink this! After you decide which skill or routine you will focus on, it’s time to take action. The easiest type of video to start with is the basic point of view video with no people in it. Just pull out your phone and press record. This type works best for transitions from one location to another. You can narrate while you are recording, but don’t get too wordy.

Tip 3: Review The Video Ahead Of Time

Once the video is finished, it can be really helpful to review the video with your autistic student prior to the routine starting. For example, with my student who struggles with the transition from the playground to the bus, the video was shown at the end of group time before going out on the playground. The entire class watched the video. Then, once on the playground, the video is shown again when it is time to transition.

Don’t forget to use the star chart to count down to the end of recess so it’s not a “surprise” when it’s time to transition. Using these strategies in tandem will lead to better results. Read more about the star chart, developed by Kari Dunn Buron, here. Nobody likes to be surprised with a transition. Imagine you are reading a good book and someone comes and pulls it out of your hand and says “it’s time to go…right now”. I know that I would be upset and a little resistant. How about you? Creating predictable routines, even for ending an activity, can help prevent this.

Now that you know how to get started by identifying a routine, recording a video, and reviewing it with your student, you are ready to take action. I’d love to see what you come up with! Head over to my private visual supports FB group and post an example. See you there!

Watch the replay of the FB Live Mini-Training on the topic of Video Modeling here! Listen to the podcast episode here.

If you love visual supports, you are going to love this freebie! Click here to sign up for the free Visual Supports Starter Set now.

a photo showing several visual supports for young children with autism

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