Lights, Camera, Action! A Parent’s Guide to Using Video Feedback for Changing Behaviors

video modeling

By Jessica Drake-Simmons

I keep finding myself pulling out the iPad during speech therapy sessions.  Not for the purpose of playing games or using therapeutic apps but simply to use the video camera.  Video feedback has been an effective way of capturing the attention and reinforcing a desired behavior with so many of my little friends. The implications for video feedback are endless but here are a few ideas to target:

  • Behavioral expectations:
    • Following directions
    • Cleaning up toys
    • Sitting at the dinner table
    • Walking next to you at the grocery store
    • Waiting in line
  • Executive functioning skills
    • Attention (e.g., The child watches a video clip of themselves doing homework and analyzes the time they stay on task)
    • Self-monitoring (e.g. The child watches the video and adult narrates the child’s initiation, persistence and completion of making their lunch)
  • Speech Production:
    • Discriminating correct versus incorrect productions of targeted sounds
    • Counting number of correct productions during a conversational sample
    • Self-correction of observed errors
  • Social Skills- Social skills can be hard to teach because real life social opportunities move SO quickly! Video modeling allows us to slow down the interaction, press pause, review the clip over and over and teach different aspects of the interaction such as:
    • Non-verbal Language
    • Eye Contact
    • Use of greetings
    • Conversation skills (staying on topic, conversational repairs, asking questions, responding)
    • Perspective Taking

The length of the video and the amount of behaviors reviewed is highly dependent on the familiarity of the task and the amount of information the child is able to process. Since positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways of changing behavior, I primarily focus on what the child did well when reviewing a video with them.  Depending on the child, I may choose 1-2 behaviors to teach/correct.

Example of praising desired behaviors:

“I like how your body is facing your brother when he is talking to you.  When you                                                            looked at your brother, he knew that you were listening to him.  That was a nice greeting when you said ‘hi’.  When you stayed an arm’s length away from your brother, he felt comfortable.

Example of correction:

There your brother said ‘how are you?’  You could have responded with _(Child’s response)______.  Yes, “fine” would be a great response! 

Why should you use video feedback?

  • It is quick and easy! Throughout your day you likely have a device with a video camera within arm’s reach.  It’s easy to take a video of your child and it’s quick to show it back to them as frequently as needed!
  • Most kids LOVE watching themselves on video! Their full engagement is one of the reasons that make this learning opportunity so effective.
  • It teaches your child what it means to ‘be good’! Using simple, affirmative language to describe the expected behavior in a situation helps prepare kids for what to expect in an event and prepares them to demonstrate the expected behaviors.
  • Videos provide multi-modal learning (visual and auditory). Multi-modal learning is effective for EVERYONE but especially beneficial for our kids who struggle with language comprehension.

I love watching children beam with pride when they witness themselves doing something well.  They love the recognition and praise that comes along with achievement in an area they sense can be challenging.  Watching a video of his or herself succeeding instills a feeling of confidence and they want to do it again and again!

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