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Using Portable Video Modeling Technology to Increase the Compliment Behaviors of Children with Autism During Athletic Group Play

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A multiple baseline design across participants was used to examine the effects of a portable video modeling intervention delivered in the natural environment on the verbal compliments and compliment gestures demonstrated by five children with autism. Participants were observed playing kickball with peers and adults. In baseline, participants demonstrated few compliment behaviors. During intervention, an iPad(®) was used to implement the video modeling treatment during the course of the athletic game. Viewing the video rapidly increased the verbal compliments participants gave to peers. Participants also demonstrated more response variation after watching the videos. Some generalization to an untrained activity occurred and compliment gestures also occurred. Results are discussed in terms of contributions to the literature.
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ORIGINAL PAPER
Using Portable Video Modeling Technology to Increase
the Compliment Behaviors of Children with Autism During
Athletic Group Play
Kevin Macpherson Marjorie H. Charlop
Catherine A. Miltenberger
!Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
Abstract A multiple baseline design across participants was
used to examine the effects of a portable video modeling
intervention delivered in the natural environment on the verbal
compliments and compliment gestures demonstrated by five
children with autism. Participants were observed playing
kickball with peers and adults. In baseline, participants dem-
onstrated few compliment behaviors. During intervention, an
iPad
"
was used to implement the video modeling treatment
during the course of the athletic game. Viewing the video
rapidly increased the verbal compliments participants gave to
peers. Participants also demonstrated more response variation
after watching the videos. Some generalization to an untrained
activity occurred and compliment gestures also occurred.
Results are discussed in terms of contributions to the literature.
Keywords Autism !Video modeling !Social skills
interventions !Technology
Introduction
Children across the autism spectrum often fail to demon-
strate the skills required to successfully initiate and sustain
interactions (American Psychiatric Association 2013;
Krasny et al. 2003; Rao et al. 2008). Commonly observed
deficits include a lack of social initiations and responses,
interactive play, social speech, empathy, and joint attention
(Clifford and Dissanayake 2008; Rao et al. 2008;
Schreibman 1988; Weiss and Harris 2001). The resulting
lack of social engagement is believed to negatively impact
the development of communicative, academic, adaptive,
and other skills (DiSalvo and Oswald 2002; Koegel and
Frea 1993; Krasny et al. 2003; Smith et al. 2002). These
widespread effects highlight the importance of intervening
to facilitate the acquisition of skills that promote social
interaction.
One such skill may be the delivery of verbal compli-
ments, or positively worded statements that are meant to
convey approval. Compliments are common across settings
and it has been suggested that giving compliments
increases a person’s likability (Cialdini 1993; Knapp et al.
1984). A number of treatment programs intended to
increase the social competence of children with autism
suggest compliment behaviors as a target (e.g., Kamps
et al. 1992; Reddy 2012), but few studies have imple-
mented interventions targeting compliment giving and
directly measured changes in this behavior. One study
found that prompting, reinforcement, and time out proce-
dures effectively increased the number of compliments two
children with autism and intellectual disability and one
child with Down syndrome and mental retardation gave a
therapist during a simple interactive ball game (Coe et al.
1990). Webb et al. (2004) implemented a social skills
program for adolescents with high functioning autism that
targeted several social skills including compliments. After
finishing the intervention, the group of boys demonstrated
statistically significant improvement in their compliment
giving behavior.
K. Macpherson !M. H. Charlop (&)
Claremont McKenna College, 850 Columbia Ave, Claremont,
CA 91711, USA
e-mail: mcharlop@cmc.edu
Present Address:
K. Macpherson
Teach for America, Los Angeles, CA, USA
C. A. Miltenberger
Claremont Graduate University, 850 Columbia Ave, Claremont,
CA 91711, USA
123
J Autism Dev Disord
DOI 10.1007/s10803-014-2072-3
Video modeling has also been used to target compli-
ments. Video modeling is a common intervention in which
the child watches short, filmed clips of a model demon-
strating the targeted behavior or behaviors and is then
given the opportunity to engage in the targeted skill or
skills (Bellini and Akullian 2007). This cycle is repeated
until the child consistently demonstrates the targeted
behaviors. To date, there is a large body of literature
demonstrating that video modeling procedures effectively
increase a range of social skills, including conversational
speech (Charlop and Milstein 1989; Sherer et al. 2001),
variation in conversational speech (Charlop et al. 2008),
spontaneous verbal requests (Wert and Niesworth 2003),
functional mands (Plavnick and Ferren 2011), play (Mac-
Donald et al. 2005), and daily living skills (Shipley-
Benamou et al. 2002).
Only one publication composed of two studies has used
video modeling to target the compliments given by chil-
dren with autism (Apple et al. 2005). In the first study,
video modeling clips followed by video instruction were
used to target the compliments two children with autism
gave to respond to or make social initiations. After
watching the video treatment package, the children
increased the compliments given in response to peer initi-
ations. However, the number of compliments given to
initiate interactions did not increase until the video treat-
ment package was combined with reinforcement proce-
dures. In the second study, two children who watched
video treatment clips again demonstrated more compli-
ments when responding to peers but again did not use
compliments to initiate interactions until additional inter-
vention procedures were introduced. Experimentally rig-
orous research conducted with larger samples is needed to
better examine the extent to which video modeling clips
alone increases children’s use of compliments.
Moreover, this past video modeling research on com-
pliments focused solely on spoken compliments. Research
has not examined the extent to which the intervention also
affects the gestures that can accompany these verbaliza-
tions (Apple et al. 2005). For example, when saying ‘‘Good
job,’’ the speaker may also use a thumbs up to communi-
cate approval. Existing research demonstrates that video
modeling can effectively and simultaneously target both
verbal and nonverbal behaviors (Charlop et al. 2010; Gena
et al. 2005).
Additionally, few studies examine the extent to which
children who participate in the interventions demonstrate
response variation (i.e., exhibit novel behaviors that are
part of the functional response class but were not portrayed
in the modeling videos). Examining response variation is
worthwhile as it provides an indication of whether the
treatment has simply resulted in rote memorization of seen
behaviors or facilitated children’s understanding and
appropriate application of the targeted response class.
Existing research indicates that video modeling interven-
tions promote response variation. For example, Charlop
and Milstein (1989) found that children who participated in
a video modeling intervention designed to increase their
conversational speech demonstrated more response varia-
tion during and after treatment. A later study demonstrated
that a video modeling treatment consisting of multiple
exemplars of conversational speech successfully increased
the response variation demonstrated by two boys with
autism across conversational topics (Charlop et al. 2008).
More research is needed to extend these findings to por-
table video modeling interventions delivered in the natural
environment and additional target behaviors.
The present study contributes to the literature by: (1)
targeting the verbal and gestural compliments of children
with autism using a portable video modeling intervention
delivered in the natural environment, during the course of
an athletic game, (2) assessing response variation of the
verbal compliment behaviors, and (3) measuring
generalization.
Method
Participants
Participants were five elementary and middle school chil-
dren enrolled in an after school behavioral treatment pro-
gram. All of the children were diagnosed with autism
spectrum disorders, by an independent agency according to
DSM-5 criteria (American Psychiatric Association 2013).
According to therapist and parent report, the children
demonstrated little or no complimentary behaviors towards
peers (see Table 1).
Jason was 11 years, 2 months old at the start of baseline.
Jason had a Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale—Second
Table 1 Child characteristics
Child Chron.
age
Vineland-II
adaptive level
Vineland-II comm. and
soc. percentile
Jason 11–2 Low 1
4
Nick 9–5 Mod. Low 3
7
Mark 11–11 Adequate 42
7
Landon 10–3 Low 1
2
Kelly 10–10 –
J Autism Dev Disord
123
Edition (Sparrow et al. 2005) composite score of 69, which
placed him in the low range of adaptive functioning. Jason’s
communication domain score indicated that he communi-
cated better than 1 % of children his age and his socialization
domain score put him in the 4th percentile. According to
therapist and parent report, Jason demonstrated limited
verbal skills and rarely commented on his surroundings.
Observed speech was often monotonous, echolalic, or
inaudible. It was reported that he rarely used gestures.
Nick was 9 years, 5 months old with a composite score
of 85 on the Vineland that placed him in the moderately
low range of adaptive functioning. Nick ranked in the 3rd
and 7th percentiles for communication and socialization.
He used spontaneous speech to communicate but tended to
speak about a limited range of preferred topics. He seldom
gave compliments. Nick was occasionally observed using
gestures (e.g., pointing or pumping his fist into the air) but
did not do so consistently.
Mark was 11 years, 11 months old and received a
composite score of 87 on the Vineland. This indicated that
he had adequate adaptive functioning. His obtained com-
munication domain score put him in the 42nd percentile
and he scored in the 7th percentile on the socialization
domain. Mark occasionally spoke in short phrases and
longer sentences, but tended not to do so unless prompted.
According to parent and therapist reports, Mark rarely
exhibited verbal compliments or gestures.
At the onset of the study, Landon was 10 years, 3 months
old. A Vineland composite score of 65 indicated that his
adaptive functioning was low and Landon’s scores on the
communication and socialization domains placed him in the
1st and 2nd percentiles. Landon’s parents and therapists
reported that he occasionally demonstrated spontaneous
speech but that it was usually in short, incomplete phrases
with a grunting voice and flat affect. Landon seldom gave
verbal compliments or used gestures with his speech.
Kelly was 10 years, 10 months old. Vineland scores were
not obtained for Kelly due to a lack of parent availability.
Therapists reported that she frequently demonstrated spon-
taneous speech but many of her utterances were echolalic or
contextually inappropriate. She rarely demonstrated verbal
compliments and her mother reported that she often criticized
peers (e.g., ‘‘That was bad’’). Kelly exhibited gestures (e.g.,
pointing and clapping), but these gestures were often self-
stimulatory and demonstrated at inappropriate times (e.g.,
when standing by herself or listening to instructions). She
was rarely observed using gesture to communicate.
Materials
Videos were made of a familiar adult demonstrating three
pairs of verbal compliments and compliment gestures (see
Table 2for the featured compliments and gestures). Each
video began with the same clip of a ball rolling and then
being kicked. This clip was immediately followed by the
same three clips of the adult saying a compliment and then
making a gesture (e.g., saying, ‘‘Wow, that went far!’’ and
then using her hand to form a thumbs up). Consistent with
past research, the adult model faced the camera and mod-
eled the phrases and gestures at an exaggeratedly slow pace
(e.g., Charlop and Milstein 1989; Charlop et al. 2010). The
videos were approximately 20 s long and were identical
except for the order of the exemplars, which was varied in
an effort to promote response variation.
Videos were shown on an Apple iPad
"
2. The tablet was
9.5 97.31 9.37 in. and weighed 1.44 pounds. The iPad
"
was chosen over comparable portable handheld devices
because of its prevalence.
Setting
Baseline, treatment, and generalization sessions were
conducted on a large lawn near the behavioral treatment
center. Plastic bases were placed 15 feet apart from each
other to form a diamond-shaped playing field. The area was
populated by children with autism, neurotypical children,
and adults. During intervention, videos were shown at
second base.
Dependent Variables
Sessions were coded to measure the extent to which the
children demonstrated verbal compliments and compliment
gestures. A verbal compliment was operationalized as a
positively worded statement that conveyed approval about
a player’s actions during the game and was said at an
audible volume. Compliment gestures were defined as a
nonverbal action that conveyed a message of approval.
Coding each demonstrated verbal compliment as a
varied unscripted compliment, a repeated unscripted com-
pliment, or a scripted compliment assessed response vari-
ation. A varied unscripted compliment was a defined as a
verbal compliment that was not portrayed in the video and
that the child had not said before. A repeated unscripted
compliment was a verbal compliment that was not seen in
the video but that the child had already used at least once.
A scripted compliment was operationalized as a verbal
compliment that was included on the video.
Table 2 Modeled verbal compliments and compliment gestures
Verbal compliment Gesture
‘Wow, that went far!’’ Thumbs-up
‘That was a great kick!’’ Fist pump
‘That was a nice job’’ Clapping
J Autism Dev Disord
123
Design and Procedure
A multiple baseline design across participants was used to
evaluate the effects of the video modeling intervention.
Baseline sessions were conducted to assess the children’s
use of verbal compliments and gestures prior to interven-
tion. During intervention, children watched the videos and
were then given the same opportunity to demonstrate the
targeted behaviors. Generalization probes across activity
were conducted during baseline and following intervention.
Baseline
Baselines sessions were conducted while the participants
played kickball with each other, additional children with
autism, neurotypical peers, and adults. Children were
brought outside to the playing field and instructed to play
kickball. Sessions were held when participants were on
offense (i.e., taking their turns kicking the ball into the
field). The game continued until each participating child
had at least five opportunities to demonstrate compliment
behaviors. An opportunity started when the child reached
second base and continued until the child returned to sec-
ond base. To maintain consistency across opportunities, the
children did not get ‘‘out’ and were only allowed to
advance one base per kicker.
On the rare occasion that a child did not independently
follow the rules of the game, therapists prompted the child
to engage in the activity (e.g., if a child did not run to the
next base when a teammate kicked the ball, a therapist
verbally prompted him or her to run). The children were
not instructed or prompted to demonstrate verbal compli-
ments or gestures.
Intervention
During intervention, the children were again brought out to
the playing field and instructed to play kickball. Interven-
tion sessions were identical to baseline sessions except the
child watched the treatment video the first time he or she
reached second base. The child was instructed to turn
towards the outfield while standing on the base and watch a
video modeling video on an iPad
"
. The first time the video
was introduced, the child watched it twice. During all
subsequent sessions, the video was shown only once
(Charlop and Milstein 1989). After watching the video, the
child was instructed to turn around so that he or she was
facing home plate and the therapist instructed the child to
do what he or she saw in the video. The presentation of the
video modeling video took approximately 30 s. While the
video was being shown, the other children were instructed
to demonstrate play behaviors (e.g., told to get ready to run
or kick the ball) so that they were occupied. Then the
pitcher released a ball to the kicker and the game contin-
ued. The session continued until each participating child
had a minimum of five opportunities to demonstrate com-
pliment behaviors. Typically, one or two sessions occurred
per week.
Once a child demonstrated a verbal compliment during
at least four of the five opportunities, a second session was
conducted without showing the child the video modeling
video. If the child again said a verbal compliment on at
least 80 % of the opportunities, the child was considered to
have mastered the skill. If the child did not meet this cri-
terion, the video modeling treatment was reintroduced.
This cycle continued until the child did meet criterion.
Generalization
Generalization probes across activity were conducted dur-
ing baseline and post-intervention. During these probes,
children were instructed to play baseball. All other proce-
dures were as previously described under baseline.
Scoring
Each session was video recorded for later coding. The
child’s first five opportunities to demonstrate the compli-
ment behaviors were coded for the occurrence of verbal
compliments and compliment gestures. An opportunity was
scored correct for verbal compliments if the child demon-
strated at least one verbal compliment and incorrect if the
child did not. Coders also recorded the total number of
compliments given during each session and each verbal
compliment was coded as scripted or unscripted. The
phrases featured in the videos were considered scripted
compliments. All other verbalizations that met the opera-
tional definition were coded as unscripted compliments
(e.g., ‘‘Awesome!’’ or ‘‘That was the best kick ever!’’). An
opportunity was coded correct for compliment gestures if
the child made at least one compliment gesture and
incorrect if the child did not.
A child was considered to have successfully completed
the intervention when he or she demonstrated a verbal
compliment on at least 80 % of opportunities during two
consecutive sessions. Criterion only included one behavior
so as to avoid an overly lengthy intervention that disrupted
the children’s natural play. Verbal compliments were
selected because this behavior was considered the primary
target of the intervention.
Inter-observer Agreement
A second coder independently scored approximately 33 %
of all sessions for both dependent variables. Inter-observer
agreement was calculated by dividing the number of
J Autism Dev Disord
123
agreements by the number of agreements plus disagree-
ments and multiplying that number by 100. Inter-observer
agreement across children, behaviors, and treatment phases
was 88 %.
Social Validity of Treatment Effects
Social validity of treatment effects was assessed by having
22 therapists rate each child’s behavior pre- and post-
treatment. The therapists were recruited from an after
school behavioral treatment program and had experience
with children with autism and neurotypical children. A
short, 30 s clip was randomly selected from one of each
child’s baseline sessions and one of each child’s final two
treatment sessions. Each clip showed the child kicking the
ball and running the bases. Raters watched the clips in a
random order and were not told which were from baseline
or post-treatment. After watching each clip, raters com-
pleted a 3-item questionnaire assessing their impressions of
the child’s social skills and likeability on a 7-point Likert
scale. One-tailed Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were con-
ducted to identify statistically significant differences in pre-
and post-treatment ratings.
Procedural Integrity
Over 40 % of sessions were assessed for procedural
integrity. Stratified random sampling was used to ensure
the inclusion of at least 33 % of each child’s baseline
sessions, intervention sessions, and generalization probes.
A coder reviewed selected sessions to determine whether
the child was engaged in the appropriate athletic group play
and that the video was only shown when and as described
in the procedures section. Procedural integrity was 93 %
for Jack’s sessions, 89 % for Kelly’s sessions, and 100 %
for Nick, Mark, and Landon. A second coder independently
scored approximately 33 % of selected treatment fidelity
sessions. Inter-observer agreement was 100 %.
Results
The obtained data indicate that video modeling shown on
and iPad
"
during an athletic group game increased the
verbal compliments given by children with autism. After
watching the video modeling clips, the children often
demonstrated more than one compliment per opportunities
and four of the five children demonstrated extensive
response variation. The number of verbal compliments
observed during generalization probes across activity
increased following intervention, but this increase was
inconsistent both within and across children. The children
seldom made compliment gestures.
Verbal Compliments
Percent Opportunity
The children demonstrated few or no verbal compliments
during baseline sessions. Implementation of the portable
video modeling intervention increased the number of ver-
bal compliments given. All of the children met criterion in
2–7 game sessions after the video modeling intervention
was presented 1–5 times (see Fig. 1).
Jason did not exhibit any verbal compliments during
baseline. Video modeling immediately increased his use of
verbal compliments to 80 % of opportunities but his per-
formance decreased when the video was not shown
immediately before testing sessions. After 3 presentations
of the video over five games sessions, Jason gave peers
compliments on 100 % of opportunities across two con-
secutive sessions.
Nick demonstrated only one verbal compliment during
five baseline sessions. Nick’s use of compliments began to
increase after video modeling was presented three times
over three game sessions. He met criterion in seven game
sessions after five presentations of the video modeling
intervention. During his final two sessions, Nick exhibited
compliments on 100 % of opportunities.
Mark did not give any verbal compliments during
baseline. The video immediately increased his demonstra-
tion of verbal compliments. Mark met criterion after video
modeling was presented four times over six game sessions
and participating in a total of seven game sessions. Mark
exhibited compliments during 90 % of opportunities over
his last two sessions.
Landon did not give any verbal compliments during
eight baseline sessions. After the first presentation of the
video modeling intervention, Landon demonstrated verbal
compliments on 100 % of opportunities. The video was not
shown before his second session and Landon again gave
compliments during all opportunities.
Kelly seldom gave compliments during baseline. The
implementation of the video modeling intervention
immediately increased her use of compliments to 80 %.
Due to procedural error, the video continued to be shown
before her next three sessions and she continued to give
compliments during 80 % and 100 % of opportunities. The
video was removed and she met criterion after 4 video
modeling sessions and participating in five game sessions.
Frequency of Verbal Compliments
The percent of opportunities data show that the children
increased their demonstration of compliments, but does not
fully reflect the extent of the behavior change. After
watching the video, the children often gave multiple
J Autism Dev Disord
123
compliments per opportunity and demonstrated as many as
18 verbal compliments per session. As previously reported,
Jason, Mark, and Landon did not give any compliments
during baseline. During the two sessions in which they met
criterion, Jason demonstrated an average of six verbal
compliments, Mark gave an average of 8 verbal compli-
ments, and Landon said an average of 16.5 verbal com-
pliments per session. Nick gave one verbal compliment
during one interval during baseline sessions and demon-
strated an average of 5.5 verbal compliments during his
final two sessions. Kelly said 1 compliment across her 10
baseline sessions and averaged 10 verbal compliments
during her last two intervention sessions.
Response Variation
The intervention increased response variation (see Fig. 2
for the total number of varied unscripted responses, repe-
ated unscripted responses, and scripted responses demon-
strated by each participant before and after the introduction
of the video modeling treatment). During baseline and
baseline generalization probes, the children demonstrated
0–2 varied unscripted compliments during baseline and did
not repeat any of these compliments. After starting the
video modeling treatment, all of the children increased
their response variation. Four of the five children demon-
strated between 6 and 21 varied unscripted compliments
over their intervention sessions and post-intervention gen-
eralization probes. Landon exhibited 1 varied unscripted
compliment after the onset of intervention. The majority of
the other compliments given were repeated unscripted
compliments. In fact, three of the children did not say any
scripted compliments.
Generalization
Generalization of the observed treatment gains was limited.
During baseline generalization probes, Jason, Landon, and
Kelly did not demonstrate any verbal compliments and
Nick and Mark each gave one compliment during one
opportunity. Jason, Mark, and Kelly increased their use of
compliments during baseball games following intervention,
with compliments during 20, 50, and 60 % of opportuni-
ties, respectively. Nick and Landon did not increase their
demonstration of compliments during post-intervention
generalization probes.
Fig. 1 Percentage of opportunities in which verbal compliments occurred during baseline, treatment, and generalization probes
J Autism Dev Disord
123
Compliment Gestures
None of the children used any gestures during baseline. After
the video was introduced, four of the five participants dem-
onstrated gestures but this use was inconsistent (see Fig. 3).
During his six intervention sessions, Jason demonstrated
eight gestures. Nick exhibited only one gesture over his
seven intervention sessions. Mark used four gestures over
seven intervention sessions and Kelly demonstrated four
gestures over five intervention sessions. Landon did not use
any gestures during his two intervention sessions.
Social Validity of Treatment Effects
Analyses of social validity ratings indicate that therapists
noted statistically significant improvements in three of the
children’s behavior after their participation in the portable
video modeling treatment (see Table 3). Following inter-
vention, Jason and Mark’s scores were significantly higher
on all three items. Landon was rated higher on two of the
three items. Ratings of Nick and Kelly’s behavior were not
significantly higher following intervention.
Discussion
The results of this study support the use of portable video
modeling interventions implemented in children’s natural
environment. All participants increased their use of verbal
compliments and 3 participants exhibited gains in gener-
alization probes across activity. Four of the five partici-
pants demonstrated an increased number of compliment
gestures during intervention sessions, but gains were
inconsistent and did not generalize across activity.
The introduction of the video modeling treatment
quickly increased the verbal compliments given by chil-
dren with autism. All five children reached mastery crite-
rion after 1–5 video modeling sessions. This rapid rate of
acquisition is consistent with past video modeling research
targeting other social communicative skills (e.g., Charlop
et al. 2010; Charlop and Milstein 1989) but the present
positive results contradicts the previous finding that a video
treatment package including video modeling did not
increase the compliments children with autism gave as
initiations (Apple et al. 2005). These contradictory out-
comes may be due to differences in the utilized video
modeling procedures, the setting in which the children
were expected to demonstrate the compliments, or partic-
ipant characteristics. Regardless, the present study dem-
onstrates that video modeling procedures can affect
children’s use of compliments as social initiations. More-
over, children in the present study demonstrated the com-
pliments while playing an interactive athletic group game
with other children. The use of this socially appropriate
behavior during play is significant because many children
with autism tend to withdraw and spend their time alone
Fig. 2 Cumulative number of
varied unscripted, and repeated
unscripted, and scripted
compliments demonstrated prior
to and after the introduction of
the video modeling intervention
across participants
J Autism Dev Disord
123
even when in close proximity to peers (Anderson et al.
2004; Lang et al. 2011).
As seen in past research, all of the children in the present
study demonstrated increased response variation after
starting the intervention (Charlop and Milstein 1989;
Charlop et al. 2008). Examples of these varied unscripted
compliment include ‘‘Nice slide!’’, ‘‘Awesome!’’, and
‘That was a big kabloomie whammo!’’. These findings are
significant as they indicate that the children were not
simply memorizing scripted phrases. Instead, the children
watched the videos and adapted the information to their
current environment. This may have resulted at least in part
from the inclusion of multiple exemplars in the treatment
videos (e.g., Charlop et al. 2008; Stokes and Baer 1977).
This study is one of the first to demonstrate that portable
video modeling interventions implemented during natu-
rally occurring social events can effectively target at least
certain skills of children with autism. Past studies of the
use of video modeling on portable technology have inclu-
ded additional prompting procedures (Cardon 2012; Cihak
et al. 2010) or lacked the experimental control needed to
attribute observed gains to the video modeling treatment
(Kagohara et al. 2012). It is worth noting that the children
in the present study demonstrated the gains after watching
the videos while participating in the athletic activity. The
finding that the observed increase occurred after the chil-
dren watched the video in a rather chaotic and distracting
environment containing numerous peers and others sug-
gests that portable video modeling interventions may
effectively target skills in similar school or community
settings. The possibility of targeting skills within children’s
daily routines is important because children with autism
who make gains in one setting often fail to apply these
skills when in different settings or with different people
and stimuli (Schreibman 2000; Stokes and Baer 1977).
Fig. 3 Percentage of opportunities in which compliment gestures occurred during baseline, treatment, and generalization probes
Table 3 Social validity results
Item Jason Nick Mark Landon Kelly
1. This child says
nice things to
other children
p\.001 n/s p=.010 p=.002 n/s
2. This child is nice
to play with
p\.001 n/s p=.031 n/s n/s
3. This child has
good social skills
p\.001 n/s p=.009 n/s n/s
J Autism Dev Disord
123
The social validity data indicate that the observed
increases in the children’s compliment-giving behaviors
improved therapists’ ratings of Jason, Mark, and Landon’s
social behavior. However, therapists did not find Nick and
Kelly’s behavior to be significantly better after interven-
tion. This pattern of findings may be related to the chil-
dren’s demonstration of other social behaviors.
Standardized test scores and clinical observations indicate
that Nick and Kelly initially demonstrated more verbal and
interactive behaviors than the other participants. The
prevalence of these other social behaviors may make the
children’s increased demonstration of compliments less
noticeable or significant to the therapists.
While the stimuli, activities, and targeted compliments
were common in participating children’s typical routines
and the videos portrayed multiple exemplars of the targeted
behaviors (Goldstein 2002; Stokes and Baer 1977), gen-
eralization was not pervasive. Although all children
acquired verbal compliments, it is possible that fluency in
the verbal compliment behavior did not occur. Fluency
refers to the ability to consistently demonstrate skills with
speed and accuracy (Charlop and Carpenter 2000; Kubina
and Wolfe 2005). Fluent responding increases the likeli-
hood that demonstration of the behavior will activate
natural contingencies and is thought to promote general-
ization. Achieving fluency often requires numerous learn-
ing opportunities (Green 2001). In the present study, the
children met the acquisition criterion so quickly that they
may not have practiced the skill to fluency. It is possible
that extending the length of intervention to provide chil-
dren with more learning opportunities would allow the
children to become fluent in the behavior and better
facilitate generalization. Kelly’s data provides preliminary
support for this modification. Kelly continued to view the
video and participate in sessions after consistently dem-
onstrating verbal compliments and also gave the most
compliments during generalization probes.
Another limitation of the present study is the children’s
minimal increases in compliment gestures. It is important to
note that the children were not required to meet a learning
criterion for gestures. This was because verbal compliments
were considered the primary target to avoid an overly
lengthy intervention that disrupted the children’s play.
While past research indicates that video modeling can
effectively target both verbal and nonverbal behaviors
simultaneously (Charlop et al. 2010; Gena et al. 2005),
these prior studies did not intervene in the natural envi-
ronment in the middle of an ongoing athletic game. Further,
data indicate that the children tended to acquire the targeted
verbalizations more rapidly than the gestures (Charlop et al.
2010). Additional presentations of the video modeling
treatment may have facilitated children’s use of gestures.
Also, while both verbal compliments and compliment
gestures were displayed in the videos, the verbal compli-
ment was always presented first. It is possible that this made
the verbal compliments more salient to the children and that
they identified this as the only target behavior. Another
possibility is that the peers responded differently to dem-
onstrated verbal and gesture compliments and that this
contributed to the observed difference in frequency. While
data was not collected on peers’ responses to verbal or
gestural compliments, it was anecdotally observed that the
children often responded to verbal compliments by saying
‘Thanks!’’ or ‘‘Yeah!’’. These natural verbal responses may
have differentially reinforced the verbal complimenting
behaviors and inadvertently discouraged children’s use of
the modeled gestures. Additionally, there is a need for
empirical research identifying the extent to which neuro-
typical children demonstrate compliments during athletic
activities. This data would be useful in developing a socially
valid mastery criteria.
The present study demonstrates that video modeling on
portable handheld technology in naturalistic environments
can effectively increase social skills of children with aut-
ism. Watching the video models on an iPad
"
during a
kickball game rapidly increased children’s use of untrained
and varied compliments. While more research is needed,
this finding has important implications for interventions for
children with autism. Portable video modeling interven-
tions may be a relatively easy to implement and efficient
means of directly affecting social behaviors within chil-
dren’s behavior in natural settings.
Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict
of interest.
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... Thirty-eight studies published from 1974 to 2018 comprised the final sample included in the review (Figure 1). Among studies included in this review, seven used classical cinematherapy (Turley and Derdeyn, 1990;Heston and Kottman, 1997;Bierman et al., 2003;Marsick, 2010;Gramaglia et al., 2011;Ballard, 2012;Egeci and Gençöz, 2017), 9 used video modeling approach (Charlop and Milstein, 1989;Reeve et al., 2007;Scattone, 2008;Coughlin et al., 2009;Jones et al., 2014;Copple et al., 2015;Macpherson et al., 2015;von Maffei et al., 2015;Walsh et al., 2018), 5 applied video peer modeling (Morris et al., 1974;Muzekari, 1976;Corbett et al., 2011;Perlick et al., 2011;Brown et al., 2016), 1 used video self-modeling, (Wilkes et al., 2011), one combined video peer modeling and video self-modeling (Decker and Buggey, 2014). Eleven out of 38 studies used a generic video treatment (Lee et al., 1983;Gelkopf et al., 1993Gelkopf et al., , 2006Kimata, 2007Kimata, , 2008Golan et al., 2010;Lim, 2010;Marx et al., 2010;Olatunji et al., 2012;Savorani et al., 2013;Yan et al., 2018), 1 with video feedback (Thiemann and Goldstein, 2001), 1 with video prompting (Rayner, 2011), 1 Positive: The experimental group that saw positive peer models improved over the controls that saw poor models or no models. ...
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