Teach2Talk Co-Founder Sarah Clifford Scheflen, Together with Colleagues at UCLA, Publishes Research on Using Video Modeling to Teach Play and Language to Children with Autism
Read below for information about how:
- Sarah and her colleagues at UCLA conducted research into using video modeling to teach children with autism appropriate play with toys (and language) through a developmental hierarchy of play levels
- this research was published as Using Video Modeling to Teach Young Children with Autism Developmentally Appropriate Play and Connected Speech in the September 2012 volume of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
- Sarah had previously developed teach2talk’s own teach2play series of video modeling products using the same techniques investigated in this research study (you can click here for more information about the teach2play series)
- why Sarah believes that video modeling, as utilized in teach2talk’s line of video-modeling products, can be an effective, evidence-based intervention to help teach a variety of skills to children (including children with autism and other developmental disabilities)
Congratulations to Teach2Talk co-founder Sarah Clifford Scheflen, M.S., CCC-SLP, who was the lead author along with two of her colleagues from UCLA, Drs. Stephanny Freeman and Tanya Paparella, of research published in the September 2012 volume of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
The article, titled Using Video Modeling to Teach Young Children with Autism Developmentally Appropriate Play and Connected Speech, presented the results of a case study in which four children with autism were taught play skills through the use of video modeling. In the study, Sarah and Drs. Freeman and Paparella and the rest of their research team at UCLA used video instruction to model play and appropriate language through a developmental sequence of play levels, while also integrating instruction in developmentally-appropriate language.
The results of the case study showed that children with autism were able to learn how to play appropriately with toys in both structured and generalized situations through the use of video modeling (although it was noted that the children progressed through the various levels of play at different speeds). The results of the case study also showed that some children exhibited more frequent and more complex use of language when they played after instruction using video modeling.
As set forth in greater detail in the article, all four children in the case study made significant gains in their play skills, which is a core deficit in autism spectrum disorders, and also significantly improved their mean length of utterance and language scores when playing over the course of the video modeling intervention (with these findings “both socially validated by unbiased and un-informed observers who clearly noted a qualitative change in the children’s play and language use in general,” see page 316). However, the article was careful to note the methodological weaknesses of the study, primarily the small sample size (only four children) and that the subjects were simultaneously receiving intensive speech and language therapy, such that the language related results should be interpreted with caution.
Sarah developed our own teach2play series of video modeling DVDs, which use video modeling to help teach children learn how to play in a systematic sequence, using the same techniques she later brought to UCLA to research in greater detail in this published case study (both the case study, as well as our teach2play series of videos, attempt to teach play through a developmental play sequence originally developed by Dr. Karen Lifter at Northeastern University, and later refined by Dr. Connie Kasari and Drs. Freeman and Paparella at UCLA and on which they and other UCLA colleagues have frequently published).
As noted in the article, one of the most exciting features of video modeling as an instructional methodology is that the video models can be developed by skilled and experienced instructors using best practices, and then implemented with multiple children by parents or less-trained clinicians or caregivers (so long as they are provided with appropriate instructions).
Accordingly, Sarah strongly believes that video modeling is an evidence-based practice that can help teach a variety of skills to children in a cost-effective way. Sarah believes that with advances in technology, it is only going to get easier and less expensive to extend best practices and the benefit of subject-matter experts to the instruction of children around the world – at a cost that is much lower than the cost of one-to-one, face-to-face traditional therapy. Of course, video modeling can’t (and in most cases shouldn’t) completely replace traditional therapies, but given the limited supply of trained therapists and the high cost of those therapies, video modeling may be a useful additional instructional methodology for some children, including children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), pervasive developmental disorders (such as PDD-NOS) and other developmental disabilities.
At teach2talk, Sarah has developed video modeling resources designed to help teach the following concepts to children:
- developmentally–appropriate play, through our teach2play series of video-modeling products (available as video on DVD format)
- social skills, including reciprocal conversations with peers, identifying and understanding emotions, and sharing and taking turns, through our teach2talk Social Skills! series of video-modeling products (available as video on DVD format)
- appropriate behaviors, including problem solving, making good decisions and effective communication with friends and other peers in common social scenarios and settings, through our teach2talk Behaviors! series of video-modeling products (available as video on DVD format)
- receptive understanding and expressive usage of wh- form questions, through our teach2talk WH Questions! series of video-modeling products (available as video on DVD format)
- receptive understanding and expressive usage of various language concepts, including nouns, verbs, prepositions and pronouns, through our teach2talk Basic Language series of video-modeling products (available as video on DVD format)
Sarah’s research focuses on areas including both teaching children through video modeling as well as teaching children with autism and other developmental disabilities how to play, and she looks forward to continuing her research into these areas. This article adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests that video modeling is an evidence-based intervention for teaching a variety of skills to children with autism and other developmental disabilities (although the case study presented in the article, like most other published research in the area, wasn’t a randomized controlled trial design with a large number of participants).
For more information about this article, you can click on this link. Below is a citation to the article in APA format as well as references to articles published by researchers other than Sarah at UCLA. For further reading, the article contains a number of references to other published research regarding the use of video modeling as an instructional methodology to teach children with autism and other developmental disabilities a wide range of skills.
Scheflen, S., Freeman, S., & Paparella, T. (2012). Using video modeling to teach young children with autism developmentally appropriate play and connected speech. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47(3), 302–318.
Articles by Other UCLA Researches on Teaching Play to Children with Autism
Kasari, C., Freeman, S., & Paparella, T. (2001). Early intervention in autism: joint attention and symbolic play. International Review of Research in Mental Retardation, 23, 207–237.
Kasari, C., Freeman, S., & Paparella, T. (2006). Joint attention and symbolic play in young children with autism: a randomized controlled intervention study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 611–620.
Support for Video Modeling as an Effective Evidence–Based Intervention for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Bellini, S., & Akullian, J. (2007). A meta-analysis of video modeling and video self-modeling interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Exceptional Children, 73, 264– 287.