A Video Self-Modeling Intervention for Postsecondary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Friday, May 16, 2014
Atrium Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
N. P. Pierce1, T. Falcomata2, C. Fragale2, S. Kang2, S. Gainey3, D. Longino2, C. Muething2, I. Jones2, J. Aguilar2 and J. Shubert2, (1)The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carrboro, NC, (2)Special Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, (3)Behavior Solutions, Austin, TX
Background: Colleges and universities have experienced a steady growth in student enrollment populations that have included individuals with disabilities (Paul, 2000). Included in the increasing trend of postsecondary students with disabilities are students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Although academically eligible, research show that students with ASD experience social difficulties in postsecondary settings (MacLeod & Green, 2009).  Some research suggests that students with ASD frequently face social obstacles on campus in several areas including the student union, the student pub, libraries, and student living spaces (e.g., dormitories; Mandriaga, 2010).  Mandriaga suggests that these social spaces present difficulties for students with ASD because of their repeated contact with large volumes of students and the difficulty of students with ASD in adjusting to a variety of social settings.  Moreover, most universities are unable to provide accommodations that meet the unique needs of individuals with ASD (Smith, 2007).  A well-established intervention in addressing social skill development is video-self modeling (VSM).  Until now, VSM research has focused on primary and secondary students and not yet investigated the topic of utilizing a VSM intervention for training social skills for individuals in the postsecondary setting.  This study assessed the feasibility of using a VSM intervention to improve the social skills of college students diagnosed with ASD.  Implications for students with ASD entering postsecondary education, as well as the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are discussed. Further recommendations for future research using VSM technology is provided.

Objectives: To determine the efficacy of a VSM intervention for teaching social skills for individuals with ASD in a postsecondary setting.

Methods: In this study, a multiple baseline (Kennedy, 2005) across therapists (study 1 and 2) and across participants (study 3) was used to evaluate the effect of a VSM intervention on social skills.  Baseline social skills consisted of breaking eye contact (i.e., looking downward and away from the eyes), not initiating conversation with others, and excessive talking during social conversations (i.e., inability to conduct two-way conversation).  VSM intervention sessions consisted of participant viewing a video model of themselves demonstrating (targeted) appropriate social skills. 

Results: Two participants demonstrated an immediate effect in target social behavior, while one showed moderate increases.  The final participant showed sizeable increases once the prompt component was added to VSM.  Modifications to the VSM procedure (i.e., adding a prompt component) appeared to improve the effectiveness of the intervention on targeted social skills for three of the four students diagnosed with ASD.

Conclusions: The results of this study signify a positive effect on social skill behaviors when VSM was introduced for all four participants. Each participant demonstrated increased social skills utilizing VSM to address multiple behaviors while demonstrating considerable flexibility in its implementation (i.e., VSM alone or VSM with prompt).  These findings extend the current literature on VSM provided for young children to older individuals diagnosed with ASD who attend college.