It’s an ancient teaching method for students copy the style of their masters in developing their own skill, whether it’s drawing, sculpting, or writing literature. Even the role of parenting is essentially a modeling approach for children to learn social skills, values, and common sense. This model of teaching has not waned in effectiveness: two studies at Indiana University prove that video modeling works for teaching social skills and daily living skills to children with ASD. Model Me Kids, LLC produces high quality training DVDs that children on the autism spectrum can watch, copy, and learn until the new ways of relating become a part of who they are.
Created and produced by a former ABA therapist, Susan Klein, Model Me Kids training materials are based on in-depth knowledge of autism and the unique challenges that hinder growth in social and emotional development. The training materials equip teachers to use the Model Me Kids concept in the classroom through DVDs, a teacher’s manual, and lesson plans. The students also get a workbook to interact deeper with the lessons taught.
Model Me Kids is meant for children and teens between 2-17 years old. The videos use four approaches. Each video covers a visual cue that shows a child with ASD how to understand nonverbal messages. The next part of the video will break down a social interaction in sequential order. In meeting a classmate, the break down would be turning toward the person, making eye contact, and then saying hello. The objective is to simplify learning for comprehension. The videos show common social situations like birthday parties, which are acted out by kids in the video. The kids in the videos display positive behaviors as a way to teach appropriateness in relating to other people.
The videos target specific areas of a child’s development to become skills. For instance, Model Me Kids series include titles like Model Me Face & Emotions, Time for School, Time for a Playdate, Model Me Conversation Cues, Model Me Confidence & Bully Prevention, and Klein intends for there to be more. She states on her website, “Proceeds from sales are used to produce future Model Me Kids® projects.” Additionally, these videos have proven that children on the autism spectrum can learn perspective-taking, the ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes in order to understand, empathize, and predict behavior.
Model Me Kids should not be considered a last resort if other methods have seemed to fall short of developmental goals. Video modeling and VSM have been determined to be evidence-based practices by the Council for Exceptional Children. Anyone, teachers, therapist, and parents can implement the dynamic Model Me Kids curriculum.