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How Does Visual Thinking Work in the Mind of a Person with Autism?

A Personal Account by Temple Grandin

 My mind is similar to an Internet search engine that searches for photographs. I use language to narrat e the photo-realistic pictures that pop up in my imagination. When I design equipment for the cattle industry, I can test run it in my imagination similar to a virtual reality computer program. All my thinking is associative and not linear. To form concepts, I sort pictures into categories similar to computer files. To form the concept of orange, I see many different orange objects, such as oranges, pumpkins, orange juice and marmalade.          click for full article

General Information

  • Overview of Video Modeling
    Overview of video modeling. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin.
                                                                                         Franzone, E., & Collet-Klingenbreg , L. (2008)
          Video modeling is a mode of teaching that uses video recording and display equipment to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill. Types of video modeling include basic video modeling, video self-modeling, point-of-view video modeling, and video prompting. Basic video modeling involves recording someone besides the learner engaging in the target behavior or skill (i.e., models). The video is then viewed by the learner at a later time. Video self-modeling is used to record the learner displaying the target skill or behavior and is reviewed later. Pointof-view video modeling is when the target behavior or skill is recorded from the perspective of the learner. Video prompting involves breaking the behavior skill into steps and recording each step with incorporated pauses during which the learner may attempt the step before viewing subsequent steps. Video prompting may be done with either the learner or someone else acting as a model.

  • Evidence
    Video modeling meets evidence-based practice (EBP) criteria with eight single-subject studies.

  • For What Ages is Video Modeling Effective?
    The evidence-based research suggests that video modeling can be effectively implemented with learners from early childhood through middle school. This practice may prove useful with high school age learners as well, though no studies were identified to support its use at this age level

  • What skills or intervention goals can be addressed by video modeling?

    In the evidence-based studies, the domains of communication, social, academic/cognition, and play were represented. It may be useful in the behavior domain as well; however, no studies were identified to support the use of video modeling in this domain. 

  • In what settings can video modeling be effectively used? 

     In the studies that serve as the foundation for the evidence base, video modeling was implemented in home and school settings. This practice, however, may be useful anywhere there is learner access to viewing equipment.

Studies & Abstracts (click to expand)

  •  Social Story Intervention- Improving Communication Skills in ASD

    Social Story Intervention

    Improving Communication Skills in a Child With an Autism Spectrum Disorder

    doi: 10.1177/10883576040190020301 Focus Autism Other Dev Disabl May 2004 vol. 19 no. 2 87-94

    Abstract

    A social story is a short story that describes social situations in terms of relevant cues and often defines appropriate responses for children diagnosed With autism. Limited empirical evidence has been found to support the effectiveness of social story intervention. The authors of this article attempted to quantitatively and qualitatively investigate the effectiveness and carryover effects of social story intervention. Through the use of a single case study and an ABAB statistical design, the frustration behaviors exhibited by a school-age child With Asperger syndrome Were targeted in the home environment during homeWork time. Results from this study suggest that social story intervention is a beneficial tool in decreasing frustration behaviors exhibited during homeWork time. Additionally, carryover of social story intervention Was evidenced Within the classroom environment.
  •  The Effects of Social Stories on Social Engagement

     The Effects of Social Stories on the Social Engagement of Children with Autism

    doi: 10.1177/10983007060080010501 Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions January 2006 vol. 8 no. 1 29-42

    Abstract

    A multiple-probe design across participants was used to evaluate the effects of social stories on the duration of appropriate social engagement and the frequency of 4 social skills in 3 elementary-age students with autism. The social skills were seeking attention, initiating comments, initiating requests, and making contingent responses. Following the intervention, which consisted of reading individualized social stories, answering comprehension questions, and participating in a 10-min play session, the duration of social engagement increased for all 3 students with both a training peer and a novel peer. The number of target social skills displayed during the 10-min play sessions increased after the intervention was introduced. Two students demonstrated generalization to a classroom setting. These findings suggest that the use of social stories without additional social skill interventions may be effective in increasing the duration of social engagement and the frequency of specific social skills.

     

  •  Social Stories & Visual Schedules to Improve Social Behaviors

    Using Social Stories and Visual Schedules to Improve Socially Appropriate Behaviors in Children With Autism

    Abstract

    The current study investigated the effects of Social Stories written according to Gray’s specifications on on-task behavior in inclusive classroom settings in three children with autism. Using a multiple-baseline design across participants, modest improvements in on-task behavior were associated with implementation of an auditory-visual Social Story intervention. In follow-up analysis, the Social Story was replaced with a visual schedule component to augment the effects of Social Stories when there was room for improvement for one participant. Further improvement in on-task behavior indicates that strategies such as visual schedules may be an effective way to augment the effects of Social Stories. An effect size estimate calculated using Parker et al.’s percentage of all nonoverlapping data points procedure revealed a large effect (d = 1.33) associated with Social Stories alone, which increased (d = 1.7) when the visual schedule intervention applied to one participant was added to the analysis. Although Social Stories produced improvements in on-task behavior in children with autism, additional components, such as visual schedules, may be useful for optimizing performance.

    Published online before print April 2, 2009, doi: 10.1177/1098300709334198 Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions July 2010 vol. 12 no. 3 149-160

  • Measure the Effectiveness of Social

    How should the effectiveness of Social Stories to modify the behaviour of children on the autistic spectrum be tested?

    Lessons from the literature

    Abstract

    Social Stories are an extensively used intervention to address behaviour difficulties of children on the autistic spectrum. This article summarizes what Social Stories are and sets out to determine whether there is any relevant literature demonstrating the effectiveness of this intervention. Whilst the existing literature suggests positive findings with respect to the effectiveness of Social Stories, there is considerable variability in the quality of research methodology, with no single study employing comprehensive, stringent standards. This article highlights the factors that should be considered and addressed when testing the effectiveness of Social Stories, as a means of informing future research.

    doi: 10.1177/1362361306062019 Autism March 2006 vol. 10 no. 2 125-138

  • Teaching Paraprofessionals to Write and Implement

    Teaching Paraprofessionals How to Write and Implement Social Stories for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders 

    doi: 10.1177/07419325070280030701 Remedial and Special Education May 2007 vol. 28 no. 3 182-189

    Abstract

    A multiple-baseline design across subjects was used to determine if paraprofessionals could be effectively taught to write and implement Social Stories TM that shared accurate social information and had a positive impact on the targeted behaviors of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Three paraprofessional—student pairs participated in the study. The data revealed that paraprofessionals could be effectively taught how to write and implement Social Stories . Furthermore, the targeted student behaviors decreased after the implementation of the intervention. Maintenance data showed continued use of the Social Stories intervention and its effectiveness with the students with ASD.  
  •  Effects of Social Stories on Social Engagement

    The Effects of Social Stories on the

     Social Engagement of Children with Autism

    doi: 10.1177/10983007060080010501 Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions January 2006 vol. 8 no. 1 29-42

    Abstract

    A multiple-probe design across participants was used to evaluate the effects of social stories on the duration of appropriate social engagement and the frequency of 4 social skills in 3 elementary-age students with autism. The social skills were seeking attention, initiating comments, initiating requests, and making contingent responses. Following the intervention, which consisted of reading individualized social stories, answering comprehension questions, and participating in a 10-min play session, the duration of social engagement increased for all 3 students with both a training peer and a novel peer. The number of target social skills displayed during the 10-min play sessions increased after the intervention was introduced. Two students demonstrated generalization to a classroom setting. These findings suggest that the use of social stories without additional social skill interventions may be effective in increasing the duration of social engagement and the frequency of specific social skills.
  • Teacher—Researcher Partnerships

    Teacher—Researcher Partnerships to Improve Social Behavior Through Social Stories

    doi: 10.1177/10534512040390050401 Intervention in School and Clinic May 2004 vol. 39 no. 5 276-287

    Abstract

    In this project, a partnership between school and university personnel addressed, in a systematic, research-oriented fashion, a classroom problem. A young child with autism exhibited excessively loud screaming, yelling, humming, and other distracting noises during class activities in a special education setting. These disruptive behaviors were a serious concern and also hampered the teacher's efforts to place the child in more inclusive environments. The partnership members first systematically assessed the target behaviors and then consulted existing research interventions addressing those behaviors. Basing their efforts on previous research, the partnership members developed social stories and implemented them through a single-subject research design. Ongoing observations and consultations, as well as input from all partnership members, formed the basis for any changes made to the intervention. At morning circle time, data on inappropriate behavior (yelling) and appropriate sitting were collected during baseline, Intervention Phase 1, Intervention Phase 2, and return-to-baseline conditions. The intervention yielded positive behavioral changes for the target student. Findings are discussed with respect to effective social story interventions for young children with autism and establishment of effective partnerships through which teachers may become active researchers.
  •  Case Study-   Stories as a Preventative Behavioral Intervention

    The Use of Social Stories as a Preventative Behavioral Intervention in a Home Setting with a Child with Autism

    doi: 10.1177/109830070200400109 Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions January 2002 vol. 4 no. 1 53-60

    Abstract
    The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a social story intervention implemented in a home setting to decrease precursors to tantrum behavior in a 5-year-old boy with autism. Using an ABAB design, two social stories were presented and withdrawn while using an event recording procedure in which interrupting verbalizations, determined to be precursors to tantrum behavior, were tallied. Data revealed a decrease in interrupting verbalizations and tantrums when the social stories were available and an increase in these behaviors when the social stories were withdrawn
  •  Grant for Study

    Research on Reward Circuitry, Autism and Games that Teach Social Perceptual Skills

     Summary:

         Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to have difficulty perceiving and interpreting facial expressions and recognizing a person’s identity by observing their face. Can video games help children with ASD learn these skills? That’s what a team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is hoping to accomplish by studying and testing the effects of facial perception games on the brain activity and facial perception skills of 8- to 12-year-old children who have been diagnosed with ASD. The games used in the study challenge them to notice subtle differences in faces and expressions and give them opportunities to rehearse these skills and receive feedback on their performance. Behavioral testing and use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of players’ brains before and after playing will help researchers determine how the games influence facial perception skills and how the brain changes in response to these game experiences. Additionally, a 2.0 version of the Let’s Face It! game will be developed, which is a multimedia, computer-based intervention that is designed to teach face processing skills to children with autism.
         The project was funded as part of Health Games Research, a national program of the Pioneer Portfolio dedicated to funding and supporting research to advance the effectiveness of interactive games for health.       http://www.healthgamesresearch.org

     

    Grantee: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 

    Grant Details:    
    Approved award: $285,705   Awarded on: Aug 25, 2009
    Time frame: Sep 1, 2009 - Aug 31, 2011
    Grant number: 66727 This grant is associated with the RWJF National Program:  
    Health Games Research: Advancing effectiveness of interactive games for health

     

     

  • Teaching Choice and Play Skills

    Using Social Stories to Teach Choice and Play Skills to Children With Autism

    doi: 10.1177/10883576040190010601 Focus Autism Other Dev Disabl February 2004 vol. 19 no. 1 45-51

    Abstract

    Social stories have become increasingly popular for teaching appropriate behavioral skills to children With autism, yet current literature Warns that little empirical evidence is available that documents the effects of this intervention. Research that does exist targets participants With mild to moderate disabilities. In this study, a special education teacher used social stories in her classroom to teach 2 children With severe autism how to make activity choices, play appropriately With materials chosen, and play appropriately With peers in an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) classroom. The classroom teacher and a teacher's aide measured student abilities in choice-making and time spent playing appropriately during a free-play setting. The researchers found support for the use of social stories to teach choice-making and play skills to children  with autism.

Research Focused on Specific Age Groups

  • Preschool
    Apple, A. L., Billingsley, F., & Schwartz, I. S. (2005). Effects of video modeling alone and with self-management on compliment-giving behaviors of children with high-functioning ASD. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7(1), 33-46.  

    D’Ateno, P., Mangialpanello, K., & Taylor, B. A. (2003). Using video modeling to teach complex play sequences to a preschooler with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5(1), 5-11. 

    Gena, A., Couloura, S., & Kymissis, E. (2005). Modifying the affective behavior of preschoolers with autism using in-vivo or video modeling and reinforcement contingencies. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 5, 545-56. 

    Kroeger, K. A., Schultz, J. R., & Newsom, C. (2007). A comparison of two group-delivered social skills programs for young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(5), 808-817. 

    Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Paredes, S., Kisacky, K. L., Ingersoll, B., & Schreibman, L. (2001). Enhancing conversation skills in children with autism via video technology. Which is better, “self” or “other” as a model? Behavior Modification, 25(1), 140-158.
  • Elementary and Middle School
    Charlop, M. H., & Milstein, J. P. (1989). Teaching autistic children conversational speech using video modeling. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 22(3), 275-285.  
    Nikopoulos, C. K., & Keenan, M. (2004). Effects of video modeling on social initiations by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37(1), 93-96.  
    Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Paredes, S., Kisacky, K. L., Ingersoll, B., & Schreibman, L. (2001). Enhancing conversation skills in children with autism via video technology. Which is better, “self” or “other” as a model? Behavior Modification, 25(1), 140-158. 

    Taylor, B. A., Levin, L., & Jasper, S. (1999). Increasing play-related statements in children with autism toward their siblings: Effects of video modeling. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 11(3), 253-264.  
  • General/ Non- Specific
    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(1), 80-90.

    Coyle, C., & Cole, P. (2004). A videotaped self-modeling and self-monitoring treatment program to decrease off-task behavior in children with autism. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 29, 3-16.

    Sigafoos, J., O’Reilly, M., & de la Cruz, B. (2007). How to use video modeling and video prompting. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.


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