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Video modeling has been used as an instructional approach to teaching individuals of various ages and varying types and degrees of disability. This method can be defined as a procedure in which a learner is shown a videotape of a model performing a target behavior or completing a desired task. The learner may have to watch the video several times before being asked to perform the same task. The purpose of using video modeling is to teach the individual a specific behavior by learning, copying, and generalizing the behavior to other settings. Video modeling may include a variety of targets which may focus on adaptive living skills, appropriate social behavior, and expanding on play and communication skills.

Video modeling may include a variety of models types such as self modeling (Bellini, Akullian & Hopf, 2007), adult modeling (Charlop & Milstein, 1989; MacDonald et al, 2005; MacDonald et al, 2009; Charlop, Carpenter & Greenberg, 2010; Allen et al, 2010; Charlop, Le, & Freeman 2000), peer modeling (Reagon, Higbee & Endicott, 2006; Gena, Couloura & Kymissis, 2005), and point of view modeling (Sancho, Sidener & Reeve 2010). Self modeling includes watching a video in which the person sees themselves engaging in a target behavior. Peer modeling will typically involve a person or persons which are close in age as the participant. The peers may be both familiar persons, such as classmates and/or family members, but may also be unfamiliar to the participant. Adult modeling may be unfamiliar to the participant, but can also include a teacher or parent. In point of view modeling, the videotape images focus on the hand movements of completing a specific task.

Research on video modeling has focused on teaching functional skills (Haring & Kennedy, 1987; Charlop, Le, & Freeman, 2000; Allen et al 2010; ), play skills (Gena, Couloura, & Kymissis, 2005; Reagon et al, 2006; Charlop, Le, & Freeman, 2000; MacDonald et al, 2009; MacDonald et al, 2005; Sancho, Sidener, & Reeve, 2010) and social/communication skills (Charlop, Le, & Freeman, 2000; Charlop, Carpenter & Greenberg, 2010; Bellini, Akullian & Hopf, 2007)

The following are steps to help parents and other professionals on how to conduct video modeling:

Step 1: Selecting Target Behaviors

• Be specific. Target behaviors should be observable and measurable.


The following are a few examples of target behaviors:

  • Self-Care: brushing teeth, washing face, making the bed, dressing, etc
  • Daily Living: Making a sandwich, using a microwave, washing dishes, setting the table, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Communication: answering questions, giving compliments, making a conversation, asking another to play, requesting preferred objects, etc.
  • Social/Academic: playing with toys, putting a puzzle together, following a schedule, increasing on task behavior, etc.
  • Vocational: operating a video player, caring for a pet, sweeping the floor, emptying trash, cleaning up toys, etc.

Step 2: Getting the Right Equipment • Video camera, videotape player, and monitor


Step 3: Writing a Script or Developing a Task Analysis

Writing a Script o A script might consist of a written narrative that describes what the model will do and say. The script can be simple or more detailed.


Example on Conversational Script

Adult: Hi, Cynthia. What are you doing this weekend?

Peer Model: I’m going to the beach. What about you?

Adult: I’m going to the movie theater.

Peer Model: Really. What movie are you going to see?

Adult: The new animated Halloween movie.


Writing a Task Analysis

o A task analysis is the process of breaking a task into its components steps. The number of steps may vary depending on the task and the learner’s ability.


Step 4: Obtaining Baseline Data

• Baseline refers to the learner’s performance before any teaching is provided. If baseline reveals that the learner can perform some of the behaviors, then the entire task analysis wouldn’t need to be covered in the video. If the learner can only perform a few of the target behaviors, then the instructional videotape should model all steps in the task analysis.


Step 5: Making the Instructional Video

The person creating the video should ask the following questions:

  • Which aspects of the script or steps in the task analysis are to be filmed?
  • Who will serve as the model in the videotape?
  • From which perspective should the videotape be filmed?
  • Should you include voice-over instructions?

Step 6: Arranging the Teaching Environment

3 factors to consider:

  1. Designate a specific time for running teaching sessions
  2. Designate a specific place for conducting teaching sessions
  3. Materials used in video should be the same materials that the learner is expected to use when performing the behavior in the actual environment.

Step 7: Presenting Video Models and Video Prompts

  • Make sure that the video monitor is within close proximity to the learner.
  • Remove any distractions from the environment
  • Immediately before starting the video, make sure you gain the child’s attention, point to monitor and say “watch this”.
  • Provide praise to child for attending to video
  • If learner engages in off-task behavior, then make sure to prompt the child utilizing the least intrusive prompt.
  • Point out relevant content and verbally describe the behavior.

Step 8: Monitor Progress

Parents and/or professionals should collect data during intervention in order to compare to baseline and determine if video modeling is effective in teaching the specified task.


The following are user friendly websites for additional information on Video Modeling:



Allen, K. D., Wallace, D. P., Renes, D., Bowen, S. L., & Burke, R. V. (2010). Use of video modeling to teach vocational skills to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Education and Treatment of Children, 33, 339-349.

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.

Bondy, A.S., & Frost, L.A. (1994). The picture exchange communication system. Focus on Autistic Behvaior, 9, 1-19.

Bryan, L.C., & Gast, D. L. (2000). Teaching on-task and on-schedule behavior to high- functioning children with autism via picture activity schedules. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 553-567.

Charlop-Christy, M.H., & Daneshvar, S. (2003). Using Video Modeling to Teach Perspective Taking to Children with Autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions: Volume 5, Issue No. 1, pp. 12-21.

Charlop, M.H., Carpenter, M.H., & Greenberg, A. L. (2010). Teaching socially expressive behaviors to children with autism through video modeling. Education and Treatment of Children, 33, 371-393.

Charlop, M. H., Le, L., & Freeman, K. A. (2000). A comparison of video modeling with in vivo modeling for teaching children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 537-552.

Charlop, M. H., & Milstein, J. P. (1989). Teaching autistic children conversational speech using video modeling. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 22, 275-285.

Corbett, B.A. (2003). Video Modeling: A Window into the World of Autism. The Behavior Analyst Today: Volume 4, Issue No. 3.

Corbett, B.A. & Abdullah, M. (2005) Video Modeling: Why Does It Work for Children with Autism? Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention: Volume 2, Issue No. 1, pp. 2-8.

 D’Ateno, P., Mangiapanello, K., & Taylor, B. A. (2003). Using Video Modeling to Teach Complex Play Sequences to a Preschooler with Autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions: Volume 5, Issue No. 1, pp. 5-11.

Gena, A., Couloura, S., & Kymissis, E. (2005). Modifying the affective behavior or preschoolers with autism using in-vivo or video modeling and reinforcement contingencies. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 545-556.

Goldsmith, T.R. & LeBlanc, L.A. (2004) Use of Technology in Interventions for Children with Autism. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention:Volume 1, Issue No. 2, pp. 166-178.

Gray, C., & Garaland, J. (1993). Social stories: Improving responses of students with autism with accurate social information. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 8, 1-10.

Haring, T. G., Kennedy, C. H., Adams, M. J., & Pitts-Conway, V. (1987). Teaching generalization of purchasing skills across community settings to autistic youth using videotape modeling. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 20, 89-96.

Hine, J.F. & Wolery, M. (2006). Using Point-of-View Video Modeling to Teach Play to Preschoolers with Autism. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education: Volume 26, Issue No. 2, pp. 83–93.

MacDonald, R., Clark, M., Garrigan, E., & Vangala, M. (2005). Using video modeling to teach pretend play to children with autism. Behavioral Interventions, 20, 225-238.

MacDonald, R., Sacramone, S., Mansfield, R., Wiltz, K., & Ahearn, W. H. (2009). Using video modeling to teach reciprocal pretend play to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 43-55.

Reagon, K. A., Higbee, T. S., & Endicott, K. (2006). Teaching pretend play skills to a student with autism using video modeling with a sibling as model and play partner. Education and Treatment of Children, 29, 517-528.

Sancho, K., Sidener, T. M., & Reeve, S. A. (2010). Two variations of video modeling interventions for teaching play skills to children with autism. Education and Treatment of Children, 33, 421-442.

Smith, C., Williamson, R. & Siegel-Robertson, J. (2005). Implementing Technology to Teach Social Skills to Students with Multiple High-Incidence Disabilities. Unpublished University of Memphis research study, 11 pp.

Wert, B. Y., & Neisworth, J. T. (2003). Effects of Video Self-Modeling on Spontaneous Requesting in Children with Autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions: Volume 5, Issue No. 1, pp. 30-34.

Williams, C., Wright, B., Callaghan, G., & Coughlan, B. (2002). Do Children with Autism Learn to Read More Readily by Computer Assisted Instruction or Traditional Book Methods? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Volume 6, pp. 71-91.

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