According to the U.S. Department of Education, autism is defined as a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interactions and verbal and nonverbal communication. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may also display attention deficits, engage in repetitive behaviors, resist environmental changes, have unusual sensory experiences, and may exhibit inappropriate behaviors that have adverse impacts on educational performance (Delano, 2007). The incidence of children identified with ASD has steadily increased and has thus changed the dynamics of education. Due to the number of children diagnosed with autism dramatically increasing over the last fifteen years, the demand for research-based practices required to educate this population of individuals is also increasing and has now become part of our law. Limited evidence-based interventions have created a strain and a sense of urgency for educators and professionals providing programming and therapeutic services to children with ASD. Recent efficacy research on video modeling as an instructional approach for individuals with disabilities has been found to be a promising intervention for teachers, which has implications for its use with students with autism in the classroom setting (Banda, Matuszny, and Turkan, 2007). The research question addressed in this study is: How effective are video modeling interventions in improving the behaviors of individuals with autism during large group instructional times?
Statement of the Problem
The origin of video modeling is thought to have theoretical roots in the social learning theory of Albert Bandura in the early 1970’s (Bellini & Akullian, 2007). Through his research, Bandura was able to prove that children who are attentive develop a variety of skills by imitating actions they have watched others model. He also determined that individuals are more likely to imitate the behavior of those they perceive as competent and similar to themselves. Consistent with Bandura’s social learning theory, video modeling is a versatile intervention that capitalizes on the potency of observational learning and because most individuals with ASD do not engage in incidental learning to instinctively gather information from their environment, the principles of the social learning theory successfully contribute to the effectiveness of video modeling (Aspy & Grossman, 2007).
Video modeling is a promising behavioral technique that falls under the category of assistive technology. It is thought to be a beneficial learning tool because it combines the power of observational learning, also known as modeling, with the apparent tendency of individuals with ASD to be particularly responsive to visually cued instruction. Video modeling is a procedure of videotaping targeted behaviors in order to expand the learner’s capability to memorize, imitate, and generalize or adapt targeted behaviors (Neumann, 2004). Over the last three decades,...