Video Modeling For Children With Autism

I found over the years of doing ABA that the use of videos to help increase appropriate behaviors really works well with many kids. Using this modality to teach children with autism is called Video Modeling. Video Modeling utilizes TV to help facilitate appropriate behaviors. This is similar to Social Stories. Video modeling is used for social skills, play, routines, and just about any behavior you want to change. Examples include increasing imaginary play, using the elevator appropriately or sitting down on the couch.

How Does Video Modeling Work?

Two studies* have been done in this area and they have concluded that videos depicting appropriate behaviors proves to be effective in helping children and adolescents with autism learn various social and daily living skills.

” ‘Video modeling and video self-modeling (in which children are shown footage of themselves performing desired behaviors) are both effective in targeting social skills and functional skills, according to the studies. Additionally, the researchers found that improvements were maintained after the program was concluded and that skills were transferred to other settings not featured on the videos.

” ‘One key reason for the success of video modeling is that it increases the child’s attention to the modeled task,” Bellini said. “When you play a video, most children immediately direct their attention to the television, or computer screen. And if you do not have attention, you will not have learning.’ “


Getting Started

Usually the supervisor of your ABA program will suggest doing a video model of a social skill or daily living skill. Sometimes ABA therapists will act out in the video or get a brother or sister or even the child with autism to perform the behavior on video. Teams may also add an additional of reenacting the behavior after watching it on TV. Practice is essential in an ABA program.

There are also companies that supply videos of various social skills. Some great websites are -


*Bellini, S., Akullian, J., & Hopf, A. (2007). Increasing social engagement in young children with autism spectrum disorders using video self-modeling. School Psychology Review, 36, 80-90.

*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, 261-284.

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  1. I have used The Watch Me Learn video modeling collection with my two boys both on the autistic spectrum. My boys love The Watch Me Learn dvd’s!!!!! They have taught my children sooo much…. how to pump on a swing, how to tie their shoes, how to play duck duck goose, tag, hide and seek, how to act appropriately on a bus and in school!!!!! I can’t say enough good things about Watch Me Learn!!!! Mary Beth Palo… The creator of Watch Me Learn has also started a line to be used in Therapy Centers and Schools with Lesson plans that go along with a new line of her dvd/video’s!!!! My boys love them!!!!! I would encourage and parent, teacher or therapist to purchase these packages!!!!! You can also check out a video clip on