A Systematic Review and Evaluation of Video Modeling, Role-Play and Computer-Based Instruction as Social Skills Interventions for Children and Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism

Abstract

An impaired development in social interaction is a defining characteristic of high-functioning autism (HFA). Video modeling (VM), role play, and computer-based instruction (CBI) have received empirical evaluation in the literature and are increasingly used in clinical practice as treatment approaches for increasing social skills in this population. Systematic reviews of the efficacy and evidence base of these interventions for children and adolescents with HFA are limited to date and are primarily narrative in methodology. It is true that much of what we know about VM, role play, and CBI is derived from reviews of the broader Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) population, which highlights the need to evaluate the effects of these interventions on heterogeneous groups of ASD (i.e., HFA). The current study provides a focused review of the efficacy and evidence base of VM, role play, and CBI for teaching social skills to children and adolescents with HFA. In addition, a set of stringent criteria were used to evaluate the status of these interventions as evidence-based practice (EBP; Reichow 2011). According to Reichow’s (2011) criteria, only one of the three interventions evaluated (i.e., CBI) had the accumulated evidence necessary to be classified as an established EBP, while both VM and role play did not. Areas for future research and recommendations for practice are discussed.

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Correspondence to Olive Healy.

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This study was funded by the Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship Scheme and the Irish Research Council’s Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.

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McCoy, A., Holloway, J., Healy, O. et al. A Systematic Review and Evaluation of Video Modeling, Role-Play and Computer-Based Instruction as Social Skills Interventions for Children and Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism. Rev J Autism Dev Disord 3, 48–67 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-015-0065-6

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • High functioning autism
  • Social skills
  • Video modeling
  • Role play
  • Computer-based instruction
  • Evidence-based practice