Video to enhance social skills for autistic teens

CC BY-ND by Ant McNeill

CC BY-ND by Ant McNeill

Past studies have shown that the use of technology can assist in learning for individuals with autism. However, the use of video within a group setting had not previously been explored. Moreover, few interventions to help teenagers gain social skills have proven effective.

Joshua Plavnick, assistant professor of special education at Michigan State University, and his team studied a group of 13- 17 year olds with ASD.  In small groups, they were provided with video instructions via an iPad or laptop.  The students involved in the study showed an increase in the  level of complex social behaviors. These skills were learned more quickly and were sustained over time.

Plavnick says:

“Teaching social skills to adolescents with ASD has to be effective and practical.  Using video-based group instruction regularly could promote far-reaching gains for students with ASD across many social behaviors.”

Staff resources to provide one-on-one help for students with autism is an increasing issue and alternatives need to be developed. Video teaching could be one solution. Plavnick says:

“Video-based group instruction is important, given the often limited resources in schools that also face increasing numbers of students being diagnosed with ASD.”