This study investigated the relative engagement potential of four types of electronic screen media (ESM): animated video, video of self, video of a familiar person engaged with an immersive virtual reality (VR) game, and immersion of self in the VR game. Forty-two students with autism, varying in age and expressive communication ability, were randomly assigned to the experimental conditions. Gaze duration and vocalization served as dependent measures of engagement. The results reveal differential responding across ESM, with some variation related to the engagement metric employed. Preferences for seeing themselves on the screen, as well as for viewing the VR scenarios, emerged from the data. While the study did not yield definitive data about the relative engagement potential of ESM alternatives, it does provide a foundation for future research, including guidance related to participant profiles, stimulus characteristics, and data coding challenges.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Electronic screen media (ESM) include media for the television screen, as used for television and movie viewing, and the computer monitor, as used for computer applications (Shane and Albert 2008).
Alberto, P. A., Cihak, D. F., & Gama, R. I. (2005). Use of static picture prompts versus video modeling during simulation instruction. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 26, 327–339. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2004.11.002.
Apple, A. L., Billingsley, F., & Schwartz, I. S. (2005). Effects of video modeling alone and with self-management on compliment-giving behaviors of children with high-functioning ASD. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7, 33–46. doi:10.1177/10983007050070010401.
Beardon, L., Parsons, S., & Neale, H. (2001). An interdisciplinary approach to investigating the use of virtual reality environments for people with Asperger syndrome. Educational and Child Psychology, 18, 53–62.
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, 264–287.
Bernard-Opitz, V., Sriram, N., & Nakhoda-Sapuan, S. (2001). Enhancing social problem solving in children with autism and normal children through computer-assisted instruction. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 377–398. doi:10.1023/A:1010660502130.
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.
Charlop-Christy, M. J., & Daneshvar, S. (2003). Using video modeling to teach perspective taking to children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 12–21. doi:10.1177/10983007030050010101.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Coyle, C., & Cole, P. (2004). A videotaped self-modelling and self-monitoring treatment program to decrease off-task behaviour in children with autism. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 29, 3–15. doi:10.1080/08927020410001662642.
DeFanti, T. A., Sandin, D. J., & Cruz-Neira, C. (1993). A ‘room’ with a ‘view’. IEEE Spectrum, 30, 30–33, 39. doi:10.1109/6.237582
Dowrick, P. W. (1999). A review of self-modeling and related interventions. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 8, 23–39. doi:10.1016/S0962-1849(99)80009-2.
Gena, A., Couloura, S., & Kymissis, E. (2005). Modifying the affective behavior of preschoolers with autism using in-vivo or video modeling and reinforcement contingencies. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 545–556. doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0014-9.
Grandin, T. (1996). Thinking in pictures and other reports from my life. New York: Vintage.
Harris, K., & Reid, D. (2005). The influence of virtual reality play on children’s motivation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72, 21–29.
Heiman, M., Nelson, K. E., Tjus, T., & Gilberg, C. (1995). Increasing reading and communication skills in children with autism through an interactive multimedia program. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 25, 459–480. doi:10.1007/BF02178294.
Holden, M. (2005). Virtual environments for motor rehabilitation. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8, 187–211. Review. doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.187
Jacobson, J. W., Foxx, R. M., & Mulick, J. A. (2005). Controversial therapies for developmental disabilities: Fad, fashion and science in professional practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Joseph, R. M., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Lord, C. (2002). Cognitive profiles and social-communicative functioning in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 43, 801–821. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00092.
Kinney, E. M., Vedora, J., & Stromer, R. (2003). Computer-presented video models to teach generative spelling to a child with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 22–29. doi:10.1177/10983007030050010301.
Kobayashi, R., Murata, T., & Youshinaga, K. (1992). A follow-up study of 201 children with autism in Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas, Japan. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 22, 395–411. doi:10.1007/BF01048242.
Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H., Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C., et al. (2000). The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–Generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 205–223. doi:10.1023/A:1005592401947.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: A revised version of the diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 659–685. doi:10.1007/BF02172145.
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.
Mechling, L. C., Gast, D. L., & Cronin, B. A. (2006). The effects of presenting high-preference items, paired with choice, via computer-based video programming on task completion of students with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21, 7–13.
Nally, B., Houlton, B., & Ralph, S. (2000). The management of television and video by parents of children with autism. Autism, 4, 331–337. doi:10.1177/1362361300004003008.
National Research Council. (2001). Educating children with autism. Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Nikopoulous, C. K., & Keenan, M. (2004). Effects of video modeling on social initiations by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37, 93–96. doi:10.1901/jaba.2004.37-93.
Ogletree, B. T., Fischer, M., & Sprouse, J. (1995). An innovative language treatment for a child with high-functioning autism. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 10, 1–10.
Parsons, S., Mitchell, P., & Leonard, A. (2005). Do adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders adhere to social conventions in virtual environments? Autism, 9, 95–117. doi:10.1177/1362361305049032.
Pierce, K., & Schreibman, L. (1994). Teaching daily living skills to children with autism in unsupervised settings through pictorial self-management. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, 471–481. doi:10.1901/jaba.1994.27-471.
Polys, N. F., Brutzman, D., Steed, A., & Behr, J. (2008). Future standards for immersive VR. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 28, 94–104. doi:10.1109/MCG.2008.29.
Quill, K. (1997). Instructional considerations for young children with autism: The rationale for visually cued instruction. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27, 697–714. doi:10.1023/A:1025806900162.
Rose, F. D., Brooks, B. M., & Rizzo, A. A. (2005). Virtual reality in brain damage rehabilitation. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8, 241–262. Review. doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.241
Schreibman, L., Whalen, C., & Stahmer, A. (2000). The use of video priming to reduce disruptive transition behavior in children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Management, 2, 3–11. doi:10.1177/109830070000200102.
Seltzer, M. M., Krauss, M. W., Shattuck, P. T., Orsmond, G., Swe, A., & Lord, C. (2003). The symptoms of autism spectrum disorders in adolescence and adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 33, 565–581. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000005995.02453.0b.
Shane, H. C., & Albert, P. D. (2008). Electronic screen media for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Results of a survey. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Published online February 22, 2008. doi:10.1007/s10803-007-0527-5.
Shane, H. C., Sorce, J., Cordeiro, R. F., Duggan, M., & Weiss-Kopp, S. (2005). Video technology for language instruction for children with ASD. Presentation at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, San Diego, CA
Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Paredes, 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.
Shipley-Benamou, R., Lutzker, J. R., & Taubman, M. (2002). Teaching daily living skills to children with autism through instructional video modeling. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4, 165–175. doi:10.1177/10983007020040030501.
Simpson, A., Langone, J., & Ayres, K. M. (2004). Embedded video and computer based instruction to improve social skills for students with autism. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 39, 240–252.
Spiker, D., & Ricks, M. (1984). Visual self-recognition in autistic children: Developmental relationships. Child Development, 55, 214–225. doi:10.2307/1129846.
Tager-Flusberg, H. (2004). Strategies for conducting research on language in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 75–80. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000018077.64617.5a.
Tissot, C., & Evans, R. (2003). Visual teaching strategies for children with autism. Early Child Development and Care, 173, 425–433. doi:10.1080/0300443032000079104.
Trepagnier, C. G. (1999). Virtual environments for the investigation and rehabilitation of cognitive and perceptual impairments. NeuroRehabilitation, 12, 63–72.
Ward, C. D. (2005). Commentary on Standen, P. J., & Brown, D. J., Virtual reality in the rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8, 288. Review.
Weiss, P. L., Bialik, P., & Kizony, R. (2003). Virtual reality provides leisure time opportunities for young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 3, 335–342. doi:10.1089/109493103322011650.
Wert, B. Y., & Neisworth, J. T. (2003). Effects of video self-modeling on spontaneous requesting in children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 30–34. doi:10.1177/10983007030050010501.
Wilkinson, K. M. (1998). Profiles of language and communication skills in autism. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 4, 73–79. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2779(1998)4:2<73::AID-MRDD3>3.0.CO;2-Y.
Woltersdorf, M. A. (1992). Videotape self-modeling in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 14, 53–73. doi:10.1300/J019v14n02_04.
This work was conducted on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. The authors are grateful to the students, families, and educational personnel associated with the following programs of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22: Maple Point Middle School, McDonald Elementary School, Pearl S. Buck Elementary School, Pennwood Middle School, Tawanka Learning Center, William Penn Middle School, and Willowdale Elementary School, and the Francis Harvey Green School of Delaware County Intermediate Unit #25.
About this article
Cite this article
Mineo, B.A., Ziegler, W., Gill, S. et al. Engagement with Electronic Screen Media Among Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 39, 172–187 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0616-0
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Visual media
- Virtual reality