Video Theraphy for Autism-How a Camera can Help Your Child

Written by on September 14, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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Autism is something that’s greatly misunderstood in society at large. As more research is done and more is learned about it, however, it’s becoming easier to diagnose and treat. Autism is a developmental disability – not a disease – that affects a child’s ability to interact and communicate with others. It ranges in severity from mild to severe, and all children are affected differently. Some can go to school and in general function on an appropriate level, while others are unable to and need highly specialized attention and care.

There are many ways that autistic children can be helped and encouraged to communicate. The National Autism Center’s National Standards Project lists self-modeling as an officially recognized treatment. Self-modeling involves a child watching themselves behave in ways that are encouraged by their parents and teachers, and/or performing simple and basic tasks that are part of a daily routine. And this is where your video camera comes in to play.

Self-Modeling at Home

Any parent of an autistic child can try self-modeling at home, and all they need is a video camera. If you have an autistic child, encourage them to practice behaviors and tasks that you most want to reinforce. As your child successfully does them with your encouragement, videotape the process or event. Videos should be relatively short and simple examples for each behavior. Since many autistic children benefit from a routine, but have difficulty following one, self-modeling can help reinforce things like the morning routine of waking, dressing, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast. Another example of self-modeling could include your child practicing appropriate behavior at school, such as sitting at their desk and raising their hand to ask a question.

Video Therapy at Work

Watching these self-modeling videos can really help autistic children learn, remember, and repeat behaviors. It’s an excellent way to increase your child’s confidence and comfort level, and encourage them to communicate with their parents, teachers, and other children, too (self-modeling videos can also include appropriate behaviors for all types of social interactions, especially with peers). Allowing your child to watch these videos on a regular basis will help them be as effective as possible.

Other Forms of Video Therapy

While self-modeling is perhaps the best example of video therapy, there are others. Autistic children can also benefit from watching videos of appropriate behaviors and communication skills even if they are not in the video themselves. There are lots of these types of videos available online. There are also apps that can help your child. One, for example, called TherAd for Autism, uses motivational videos to encourage behavior. It also integrates self-modeling, and it allows parents to upload short self-modeling videos that will be appropriately incorporated into the motivational videos.

If you have an autistic child and have not yet tried video therapy, talk to your child’s doctor or therapist about self-modeling and other forms of video therapy. It also might be the time to invest in a video camera; it doesn’t have to be expensive, just functional. Video therapy really could help your autistic child improve communication and social skills.

This is a guest post.  This article was prepared by Marcy S from Actin. Click here for more info on Actin. Actin is a Chicago-based videography company with a heart for families.

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