​Bethany has loved watching herself and various family members on video ever since the very first video I created of my family's everyday goings on was uploaded to our You Tube channel! She develops new favorites every week and watches them over and over and over again!

She never tires of seeing herself have fun with her mom, dad, sisters, brothers, friends, and other family members. I think it's really cool that she'll be able to watch all these videos of all of us together long after my husband and I are gone. 

Naturally this has gotten me thinking about the type of content that I actually want her to see and remember us by. While I pride myself on keeping my videos authentic, real, and depicting what life is really like for us, right down to the nitty, gritty, and sometimes nasty details, I also want Bethany to have fond, loving, and happy memories of all of us to look back on.

If Bethany views videos of herself having meltdowns over and over again, she will not have happy memories, and I wonder just how watching negative behaviors over and over would affect her.  It will most certainly not help her learn safer and more appropriate ways of dealing with her anger and disappointments.

So I got to thinking...If I can catch and film Bethany engaging in proper behaviors for a variety of situations and circumstances in her daily life and she watches them over and over and over again, it can only have a positive impact on her life and re-inforce in her mind, the better more appropriate ways of behaving!  

If nothing else, she will at least have happy, positive video memories to look fondly back on!! Well just imagine my delighted surprise when, while visiting my public library the other day I came across the book, Seeing is Believing: Video Self Modeling (VSM) For People With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, by Tom Buggey, Ph.D. It's all about teaching new skills and behaviors using videos, starring children with disabilities performing the target skills and behaviors themselves. 

Apparently this can be accomplished by filming the kids role playing, imitating what you want them to say and do, and using some very creative editing to make it all happen. In this book you'll find:

• Research showing potentially promising and effective results using Video Self Modeling.  

• How to choose which skills and behaviors to target. 

• Helpful equipment tips, filming suggestions, and editing techniques.

• How to collect and record data to measure results.

• Do's and Don’t's to put together a successful Video Self Modeling program.

• Real life case studies of children using VSM to successfully learn new skills.

I was quite impressed to read about two children in particular learning new skills with VSM.

• Target skill: To teach a boy to speak in more than one word sentences.  

The author filmed the child saying each word he knew, one word at a time, then edited them together to look like the boy was speaking a complete sentence.  

Result: The boy began speaking in sentences shortly after viewing the video of himself speaking in a complete sentence!

• Target skill: To help a girl with limited food choices expand her choices and eat a more variety of foods. The author filmed a clip of the girl sitting at a table with various new foods on her plate, a clip of her holding a fork with the new foods on it, and finally, a clip of the girl eating the new foods! (However, it was not actually the girl eating the foods. The author created the image of the girl eating with a little creative filming and editing of a clip of only the mouth of another, substitute child actually eating the new foods!)

Results: One month after viewing the video of herself eating a variety of new foods, the little girl was actually eating about 30 new foods!! I believe that VSM shows promising potential for teaching Bethany safer and more appropriate ways to express her anger and disappointments and even better ways to conduct herself in certain situations!

I recently “caught” on video, Bethany being unusually happy and uncharacteristically cooperative while at the doctor's office getting her blood drawn!  She absolutely loves watching this particular video of herself over and over and over again!! 

Let's hope that my accidental attempt at video self-modeling reaps some positive results! 

Wouldn't it be awesome if she has learned to be happy and cooperative for every doctor visit just from watching that one video over and over and over again? 

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