In the sphere of special education, it is paramount to develop and test new methods of interventions that would allow the special education professionals to more effectively address the adverse issues that children with impairments or disorders face. This is especially important if the children are of preschool age, for the development of their skills is crucial for their subsequent life (Lemmon & Green, 2015).
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One of the innovative methods of early special education interventions is the video modeling intervention method. A literature review shows that such interventions were mostly implemented for persons who had autism spectrum disorders or developmental disabilities (Mason, Davis, Boles, & Goodwyn, 2013). In fact, a number of researchers report successfully using video modeling to address the issues of children with reading disabilities (Ayala & O’Connor, 2013) or learning disabilities (Decker & Buggey, 2012). Simultaneously, successful interventions have been implemented for children with autism spectrum disorders (Axe & Evans, 2012; Green et al., 2013; Akmanoglu, Yanardag, & Batu, 2014; Lee, Anderson, & Moore, 2014; Adamo et al., 2015; Alzyoudi, Sartawi, & Almuhiri, 2015; Gilmour, 2015).
On the whole, video modeling, in particular, video modeling with other as a model were highly effective for the persons with autism spectrum disorders, and moderately effective for the individuals with developmental disabilities (Mason, Ganz, Parker, Burke, & Camargo, 2012).
In this paper, a video modeling intervention for children aged 4 with an autism spectrum disorder will be offered. It will be aimed at improving the participants’ social skills and addressing their repetitive behaviors. The research question addressed by this paper will be as follows: “Will a video modeling intervention increase the social skills of young children and lower the amount of time during which they engage in repetitive behaviors?” The intervention will be based on the synthesis of the methods used by Green et al. (2013), Lee et al. (2014), Adamo et al. (2015), Akmanoglu et al. (2014), and Alzyoudi et al. (2015).
The intervention will take place in a small room with toys where the two kids for whom the intervention will be implemented will be brought; they will be able to play there. The room will include two children’s chairs and a table at which the children will be able to sit, a number of toys, and a TV screen with speakers on the wall on which the video materials will be shown to children. The toys will include cubes, construction set toys such as legos, and toy trunks. There will be two sets of toys provided, so that the children could play independently or combine their efforts. There will also be a small video camera in the room placed at the top of the wall (so that the kids do not pay attention to it) in order to record the children’s behavior.
The participants of the study will be two 4-year-old boys with autism spectrum disorders. The disorders will be mild to moderate; children will have problems with engaging in interactions with others and making friends, tending to do activities on their own; and will show a tendency to repetitive (but not self-harming) behaviors. An attempt will be made to address both these issues.
The written informed consent of the children’s parents will be obtained. The anonymity of children will be kept by not reporting their surnames in any reports, and possibly by using false first names.
Type of single subject design
The A-B-A-B design will be employed. During the first session, the children will be placed in the room and left to play on their own, without a video. During the second session, a video recording will be demonstrated on the TV. During the third session, the video will not be shown. During the fourth session, the recording will again be demonstrated.
Managing the experimental control
It is stated that in the case of reversible behaviors, experimental control can be conducted by “briefly withdrawing the intervention, as in A-B-A-B design, and monitoring the effect of withdrawal” (Gast & Ledford, 2014, p. 268). Since the A-B-A-B design will be employed, the experimental control will be managed through it.
General instructional procedures
The video recording demonstrated to the participants will open with a prompt where in a happy voice it will be stated that it is more interesting to play with friends than on one’s own, and the participants will be urged to look at the video and play with one another like the boys on the video. Then, the recording will depict two peers of the participants who will greet each other by saying “Hi” or “Hello,” and then will engage in play with the cubes or the legos at the table in the same setting.
The video will last approximately 3 minutes, during which the depicted kids will interact, build things from legos, transport cubes using trucks and building constructions from cubes, etc. The kids in the video will also change activities (playing with legos, playing with cubes, building different things from these and demolishing them in order to build something new, etc.) rather than engage in repetitive behaviors.
During the first session, the children will be placed in the room for 20 minutes, and urged to play with toys and with one another.
At this phase, the kids will again be placed in the same room for 20 minutes and urged to engage in play as the first time. However, after the children will have been in the room for 1 minute, the video recording will be turned on. The video recording will be replayed once again, starting at the 10th minute of the subjects’ being in the intervention setting.
The third session of the intervention will be similar to the first one (“Baseline phase”); the children will be placed in the room for 20 minutes without the video recording being turned on. The fourth session will be similar to the second one (“Intervention phase”); the video recording will also be turned on twice, at the first minute and at the 10th minute of the session.
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The independent variable in this intervention will be the video modeling of children’s behavior.
The dependent variables of this study will be: a) social skills of the participants; b) the time during which the repetitive behaviors were carried out by children during the sessions.
Fidelity of implementation
All the four sessions will be video recorded by using the video camera. The accuracy of the implementation of the independent variable will not be difficult to measure due to the fact that the video recording shown to the participants will be previously prepared. The first dependent variable (social skills of the participants) will be assessed by measuring the time that the participants spent playing together, and by the successfulness of their interactions.
More specifically, it will be observed whether they had conflicts or other difficulties maintaining the interaction – this will be assessed by counting the number of interactions which ended successfully and unsuccessfully, and by measuring the time over which these interactions were taking place. The second independent variable will be calculated by using the video recording of the interventions.
If social validity was included, what would that entail?
Social validity includes the assessment of the “goals, procedures, and effects” of a study (Gast & Ledford, 2014, p. 71). The goals of the study/intervention are to improve the social skills of the participants by engaging them in common play, and to decrease the time during which they practice repetitive behaviors, i.e. to address some of the issues that children with autism spectrum disorders often are faced with.
The effects can be assessed by the methods described in the previous subsection. The procedures resemble those implemented in numerous studies, for instance, by Adamo et al. (2015), Akmanoglu et al. (2014), Alzyoudi et al. (2015), Green et al. (2013), and Lee et al. (2014) in their researches, which makes it possible to assume that these procedures have a certain degree of validity.
Narrative discussion of the expected results
It is expected that the intervention will lead to the increase in the first dependent variable and to the decrease in the second dependent variable. Namely, it is anticipated that the children, after watching the video, will a) dedicate more time to interacting with one another and to engaging in common play, and that they will not have many conflicts, and b) that they will spend less time on performing repetitive activities.
Thus, it is expected that the prompts in the recording and the video showing the happy interaction of kids will stimulate the participants to engage in interactions and common play. However, it is also anticipated that it might be possible that the participants will stop engaging in these when some time passes after the recording stopped playing; this is why the recording is played twice during the session.
Chart of the expected results
The bar chart represents average expected results for each of the two students (since it is not known how the students will behave, the estimate is general). It is roughly expected that, throughout the study, the children will practice repetitive behaviors approximately 75% of the time when they are not interacting, and that they will not interact during the baseline.
It is also expected that the participants will be stimulated to interact by the video for nearly three minutes each time during the first intervention (the recording plays for three minutes each time; it is assumed that children will start interacting when some time has passed after the beginning of the video, and will carry on for some time after it ends), yielding a total of six minutes during a 20-minute session; the time of repetitive behaviors, consequently, is 10.5 minutes.
It is anticipated that the kids will interact for some time during the control phase (approximately for 2 minutes; consequently, the time of repetitive behaviors here is 13.5 minutes). It is also expected that the participants will interact for somewhat longer during the maintenance phase than during the intervention 1 phase, for instance, for 8 minutes; consequently, the time of repetitive behaviors is nearly 9 minutes.
Percentage of non-overlapping data (PND)
The percentage of non-overlapping data can be counted by using the formula provided by Gast and Ledford (2014). For the described expected results of the intervention 1 phase in comparison to the baseline phase regarding the total time of interactions, the PND is 100%; regarding the time of repetitive behaviors, the PND is also 100%. The same is true if the control and maintenance phases are assessed; the PND here is also 100% for both cases.
This is due to the fact that all the data points of the condition during the intervention 1 and maintenance phases fall outside the range of the values of the data points of the baseline and control phases. In other words, because the children are practically not expected to interact without watching the video recording (but are expected to interact due to the video recording), the influence of the intervention on the behavior is expected to be high.
Immediacy of the effect
In the estimated results, the participants are expected to respond to the intervention almost immediately, and to retain its effects for some time.
Variability of the data within a phase
Because only two hypothetical participants are expected to take part, and there are no means of distinguishing between them a priori, the expected data does not vary within a phase.
Did the data demonstrate a functional relation?
It was assumed that the participants will engage in repetitive behaviors 75% of the time when they do not interact, which is already a functional relation. Thus, it is clear that the time of expected repetitive behaviors (TRB) was functionally related to the total time of interactions (TTI): TRB = (20 minutes-TTI)*(3/4), where 20 minutes is the length of the session.
The chart of the expected results might appear to predict rather optimistic results of the intervention. In particular, the children are not expected to engage in interactions without the external stimuli; on the other hand, it is assumed that the video will stimulate them to participate in interactive behaviors rather soon after starting to watch the video. However, in reality, this might be a problem, for children with autism spectrum disorders might pay little attention to what is being said.
In addition, even if one of the children will positively respond to the intervention, it is still possible that the other will not. And yet, the mostly positive expectations provided here are based on the studies of video modeling interventions that are reported to have yielded successful results (Mason et al., 2012; Adamo et al., 2015; Akmanoglu et al., 2014; and others). Clearly, if the results similar to these are to be obtained, the answer to the research question of this paper, “Will a video modeling intervention increase the social skills of young children and lower the amount of time during which they engage in repetitive behaviors?”,” should be positive.
The limitations of the current study include the limited control over children and the difficulties that might occur if one of the children misbehaves. In addition, the estimate that a child will be employed in repetitive behaviors is assessed very roughly, and the evaluation formula does not take into account the possibility of children performing repetitive behaviors while being engaged in play.
The future studies might develop new video modeling intervention and test them. In particular, it should be important to test whether such interventions will be effective for children with disabilities other than developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.
Adamo, E. K., Wu, J., Wolery, M., Hemmeter, M. L., Ledford, J. R., & Barton, E. E. (2015). Using video modeling, prompting, and behavior-specific praise to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for young children with Down syndrome. Journal of Early Intervention, 37(4), 270-285. Web.
Akmanoglu, N., Yanardag, M., & Batu, E. S. (2014). Comparing video modeling and graduated guidance together and video modeling alone for teaching role playing skills to children with autism. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 49(1), 17-31. Web.
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Mason, R. A., Ganz, J. B., Parker, R. I., Burke, M. D., & Camargo, S. P. (2012). Moderating factors of video-modeling with other as model: A meta-analysis of single-case studies. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(4), 1076-1086. Web.