Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 2295–2306 | Cite as

Teaching Functional Play Skills to a Young Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder through Video Self-Modeling

  • Sharon Y. Lee
  • Ya-yu LoEmail author
  • Yafen Lo
Original Paper


The researchers used a single-case, multiple probe design across three sets of toys (i.e., farm toy, doctor’s clinic toy, and rescue toy) to examine the effects of video self-modeling (VSM) on the functional play skills of a 5-year-old child with autism spectrum disorder. The findings showed a functional relation between VSM and increased percentages of functional play actions across the toy sets. The participant’s percentages of the targeted functional play skills for the intervention toys remained high 1 week and 2 weeks after the intervention ceased. Additionally, preliminary generalization results showed slight improvement in the percentages of functional play actions with the generalization toys that were not directly taught. Limitations, practical implications, and directions for future research are discussed.


Video self-modeling Autism spectrum disorder Functional play skills Generalization 



This study was not supported by any funding.

Author Contributions

SYL participated in the conceptualization of the study and data analysis, implemented the study in its entirety, and assisted with drafting the initial manuscript. Y-yL conceptualized the study design, provided guidelines for data collection and data analysis, and took the lead on developing and revising the manuscript. YL participated in the conceptualization of the study, supervised the implementation of the study and data analysis, and assisted with writing, reviewing, and revising the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning, and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 545–561. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.94.3.545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  3. Ashiabi, G. (2007). Play in the preschool classroom: Its socioemotional significance and the teacher’s role in play. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 199–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayres, K. M., & Langone, J. (2005). Intervention and instruction with video for students with autism: A review of the literature. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 40, 183–196.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1–26. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bellini, S., & Akullian, J. (2007). A meta-analysis of video modeling and video self-modeling interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Exceptional Children, 73, 261–284. doi: 10.1177/001440290707300301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 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, 80–90.Google Scholar
  8. Bellini, S., & McConnell, L. L. (2010). Strength-based educational programming for students with autism spectrum disorders: A case for video self-modeling. Preventing School Failure, 54, 220–227. doi: 10.1080/10459881003742275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Benson, J. B., & Haith, M. M. (2009). Social and emotional development in infancy and early childhood. London: Academic.Google Scholar
  10. Beyer, J., & Gammeltoft, L. (2000). Autism and play. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Bohart, H. E., Charner, K., & Koralek, D. (2015). Spotlight on young children: Exploring play. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.Google Scholar
  12. Bondy, A., & Frost, L. (1994). The picture exchange communication system. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 9, 1–19.Google Scholar
  13. Boudreau, E., & D’Entremont, B. (2010). Improving the pretend play skills of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders: The effects of video modeling. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 22, 415–431. doi: 10.1007/s10882-010-9201-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boutot, A. E., Guenther, T., & Crozier, S. (2005). Let’s play: Teaching play skills to young children with autism. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 40, 285–292.Google Scholar
  15. Buggey, T. (2005). Video self-modeling applications with students with autism spectrum disorder in a small private school setting. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 52–63. doi: 10.1177/10883576050200010501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buggey, T. (2012). Effectiveness of video self-modeling to promote social initiations by 3-year-olds with autism spectrum. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27, 102–110. doi: 10.1177/1088357612441826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buggey, T., & Hoomes, G. (2011). Using video self-modeling with preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder: Seeing can be believing. Young Exceptional Children, 14(3), 1–12. doi: 10.1177/1096250610395872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Buggey, T., Hoomes, G., Sherberger, M. E., & Williams, S. (2011). Facilitating social initiations of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders using video self-modeling. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 26, 25–36. doi: 10.1177/1088357609344430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buggey, T., & Ogle, L. (2012). Video self-modeling. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 52–70. doi: 10.1002/pits.20618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Buggey, T., & Ogle, L. (2013). The use of self-modeling to promote social interactions among young children. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 28, 202–211. doi: 10.1177/1088357612464518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cihak, D., & Schrader, L. (2009). Does the model matter? Comparing video self-modeling and video adult modeling for task acquisition and maintenance by adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Special Education Technology, 23, 9–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Coyle, C., & Cole, P. (2004). A videotaped self-modeling and self-monitoring treatment program to decrease off-task behaviour in children with autism. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 29(1), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. D’Ateno, P., Mangiapanello, K., & Taylor, D. A. (2003). Using video modeling to teach complex play sequences to a preschooler with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 5–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Delano, M. E. (2007). Video modeling interventions for individuals with autism. Remedial and Special Education, 28, 33–42. doi: 10.1177/07419325070280010401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dominguez, A., Ziviani, J., & Rodger, S. (2006). Play behaviours and play object preferences of young children with autistic disorder in a clinical play environment. Autism, 10(1), 53–69.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Dowrick, P. (1999). A review of self-modeling and related interventions. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 8, 23–39. doi: 10.1016/S0962-1849(99)80009-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dowrick, P. W. (1983). Self-modeling. In P. W. Dowrick & J. Biggs (Eds.), Using video: Psychological and social applications (pp. 105–124). New York, NY: Wiley. Expressive (Version 3.0) [iPad app]. Smarty Ears Apps.Google Scholar
  28. Gast, D. L., Lloyd, B. P., & Ledford, J. R. (2014). Multiple baseline and multiple probe designs. In D. L. Gast & J. R. Ledford (Eds.), Single case research methodology: Applications in special education and behavioral sciences (2nd edn., pp. 251–296). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Gelbar, N. W., Anderson, C., McCarthy, S., & Buggey, T. (2012). Video self-modeling as an intervention strategy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 15–22. doi: 10.1002/pits.20628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holmes, E., & Willoughby, T. (2005). Play behaviour of children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 30, 156–164. doi: 10.1080/13668250500204034 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Honey, E., Leekam, S., Turner, M., & McConachie, H. (2007). Repetitive behaviour and play in typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1107–1115. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0253-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidence-based practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71, 165–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jung, S., & Sainato, D. M. (2013). Teaching play skills to young children with autism. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 38(1), 74–90. doi: 10.3109/13668250.2012.732220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lasater, M. W., & Brady, M. P. (1995). Effects of video self-modeling and feedback on task fluency: A home-based intervention. Education & Treatment of Children, 8, 389–407.Google Scholar
  35. Lewis, V., Boucher, J., Lupton, L., & Watson, S. (2000). Relationships between symbolic play, functional play, verbal and nonverbal ability in young children. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 35, 117–127.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Litras, S., Moore, D. W., & Anderson, A. (2010). Using video self-modelled social stories to teach social skills to a young child with autism. Autism Research and Treatment. 834979. doi: 10.1155/2010/834979.
  37. MacDonald, R., Clark, M., Garrigan, E., & Vangala, M. (2005). Using video modeling to teach pretend play to children with autism. Behavioral Interventions, 20, 225–238. doi: 10.1002/bin.197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacManus, C., MacDonald, R., & Ahearn, W. H. (2015). Teaching and generalizing pretend play in children with autism using video modeling and matrix training. Behavioral Interventions, 30, 191–218. doi: 10.1002/bin.1406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mason, R. A., Davis, H. S., Ayres, K. M., Davis, J. L., & Mason, B. A. (2016). Video self-modeling for individuals with disabilities: A best-evidence, single case meta-analysis. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 28, 623–642. doi: 10.1007/s10882-016-9484-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mason, R. A., Ganz, J. B., Parker, R. I., Boles, M. B., Davis, H. S., & Rispoli, M. J. (2013). Video-based modeling: Differential effects due to treatment protocol. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 120–131. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2012.08.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McConnell, S. R. (2002). Interventions to facilitate social interaction for young children with autism: Review of available research and recommendations for educational intervention and future research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 351–372. doi: 10.1023/A:1020537805154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Morgan, L., Wetherby, A., & Barber, A. (2008). Repetitive and stereotyped movements in children with autism spectrum disorders late in the second year of life. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 826–837. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01904.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. Morrison, R. S., Sainato, D. M., Benchaaban, D., & Endo, S. (2002). Increasing play skills of children with autism using activity schedules and correspondence training. Journal of Early Intervention, 25, 58–72. doi: 10.1177/105381510202500106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8: Position statement. Retrieved from
  45. Roeyers, H., & Van Berckelaer-Onnes, I. A. (1994). Play in autistic children. Communication and Cognition, 27, 349–360.Google Scholar
  46. Sancho, K., Sidener, T. M., Reeve, S. A., & Sidener, D. W. (2010). Two variations of video modeling interventions for teaching play skills to children with autism. Education & Treatment of Children, 33, 421–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sarama, J., & Clements, D. H. (2009). Building blocks and cognitive building blocks: Playing to know the world mathematically. American Journal of Play, 1, 313–337.Google Scholar
  48. Schatz, R. B., Peterson, R. K., & Bellini, S. (2016). The use of video self-modeling to increase on-task behavior in children with high-functioning autism. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 32, 234–253. doi: 10.1080/15377903.2016.1183542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scheflen, S. C., Freeman, S. F. N., & Paparella, T. (2012). Using video modeling to teach young children with autism developmentally appropriate play and connected speech. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47, 302–318.Google Scholar
  50. Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Pardes, 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, 140–158. doi: 10.1177/0145445501251008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Sherratt, D., & Peter, M. (2002). Developing play and drama in children with autistic spectrum disorders. London: David Fulton.Google Scholar
  52. Shukla-Mehta, S., Miller, T., & Callahan, K. J. (2010). Evaluating the effectiveness of video instruction on social and communication skills training for children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the literature. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25, 23–36. doi: 10.1177/1088357609352901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Singer, D. G., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2006). Play = learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Smith, J., Hand, L., & Dowrick, P. W. (2014). Video feedforward for rapid learning of a picture-based communication system. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 926–936. doi: 10.1007/s10803-013-1946-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Stone, W. L., Lemanek, K. L., Fishel, P. T., Fernandez, M. C., & Altemeier, W. A. (1990). Play and imitation skills in the diagnosis of autism in young children. Pediatrics, 86, 267–271.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Sturmey, P. (2003). Video technology and persons with autism and other developmental disabilities: An emerging technology for PBS. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 3–4. doi: 10.1177/10983007030050010401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tsao, Y. L. (2008). Using guided play to enhance children’s conversation, creativity and competence in literacy. Education, 128, 515–520.Google Scholar
  58. Voress, J. K., & Maddox, T. (1998). Developmental assessment of young children. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
  59. Weisberg, D. S., Zosh, J. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2013). Talking it up: Play, language development, and the role of adult support. American Journal of Play, 6, 39–54.Google Scholar
  60. Wert, B., & Neisworth, J. T. (2003). Effects of video self-modeling on spontaneous requesting in children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 300–305. doi: 10.1177/10983007030050010501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. What Works Clearinghouse. (2013). Procedures and standards handbook (Version 3.0). Retrieved from
  62. Williams, E., Reddy, V., & Costall, A. (2001). Taking a closer look at functional play in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 67–77. doi: 10.1023/A:1005665714197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Wortham, S. C. (2010). Early childhood curriculum: Developmental bases for learning and reaching (5th edn.). Boston, MA: Pearson Higher Education.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Family StudiesCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Special Education and Child DevelopmentUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child and Family StudiesCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations