Along our travels we bumped into some ideas around video Modelling for kids on the spectrum. Some people using home videos of themselves and family members demonstrating social scenarios using basic, appropriate use of language. Many have reported it reached their child in a way nothing else would. Like an ‘instructional video’ that a child could refer back to over and over again if need be. Not only that but the repetitive exposure was fast-tracking progress and development that daily hands-on exposure, which is increasingly labour-intensive for parents, could take much much longer to develop.
We have been using video Modelling in various forms with Joe for around 10 months, and the results, though slow to begin with, are now staggering. Because Joe needs a fair amount of ‘visual’ stimulation, watching a screen was a very easily digestable way for him to take in the informatio of language and social etiquette he was missing because of his ‘lack of interest’ in us. Initially, it replaced his sensory need to spin objects to get his visual stimulation, but this way he was actually learning something else in the process. Eventually, he started to join the dots. I would sit facing him while he’d watch the videos so he could see me also reenacting or supporting what was on the screen. It became his ‘point of reference’ which was easy to refer to rather than take up with humans straight away which was a little more scary, fast-paced and confusing. Piece by piece it has helped him put his world together around him, and fast-tracked his language comprehension. So far, he has demonstrated that he has learned what most animals are called, the noises they make, what objects are called, concepts such as open and close, up and down etc. because videos can explain and show a concept where as a photo or snap shot can not. I’ve also videoed myself using Joe’s toys to literally show him how to play with them and give him ideas as to what they are for. Most times joe wouldn’t play with the toy as it was functionally designed. He would just find a way he liked to play with it to suit his sensory preferences. Once he could be shown in a way that was respectful and unintrusive to him, he mimicked the ‘correct use’ of the toy voluntarily. He’d enjoy it and get a great sense of confidence from it which helped him build ideas around how other toys might work. It was, and still is, exciting to watch. But I have been part of it every step of the way. It’s not a case of just standing back and letting him watch videos. It’s the order I have presented them to him in, scaffolding and building concepts that flow on from one to another. Grouping them so they associate with each other, such as a video with pictures of faces of family members and their names. Having a theme, or a point of reference from a video that he already knows so he has something familiar to work with and build on.
I’ve used a program called Gemiini coupled with our own personalized videos. Gemiini is an online program designed by a family who used this method of discrete video Modelling with their children who are on the spectrum. You can piece together your own videos based on your child’s own interests from a video clip catalogue they have uniquely designed for general concepts. They suggest a minimum of 6 months of exposure before you decide whether it’s working for you or not. I would have to agree as Joe is only just now starting to show us how much he’s learned from them over the past 10 months.
Like everything, it’s another angle and another tool in your bag. I’ll attach some videos to demonstrate some of the awesome outcomes I’ve managed to capture on video lately through this method.