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Using Video Self-Modeling (VSM) as a Therapeutic Tool

presented by Tom Buggey

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Thomas Buggey receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.


Non-Financial: Thomas Buggy has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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How can we best teach a child with autism when their social handicaps make it difficult for them to attend in-vivo instruction? Similarly, how can we teach children who have lost confidence in their ability to learn? This course will teach you how to use video self-modeling (VSM) to help overcome problems of confidence and learned helplessness, while improving attention to the model or instructor. We will explore state-of-the-art video editing software that is user-friendly and allows us to create movies in which the child becomes both model and viewer. We will also look at a few modeling methods that are in the development stages, such as virtual reality and avatar-modeling. Participants who complete the course will learn a research-based method to reach people who need extra encouragement or present special challenges in learning.

Meet Your Instructor

Tom Buggey, PhD

Dr. Buggey worked in the field of special education as a teacher and supervisor in the US and Canada prior to receiving his PhD in Early Intervention from Penn State University in 1993. He then spent 14 years as a professor at The University of Memphis. While in Memphis he was the primary investigator on…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Background and Definitions

What is VSM and why does it work? The learning theories of Albert Bandura and the work in motor imaging in physical therapy provide some rationales about why VSM is effective. Self-advocates like Temple Grandin, provide insight into why VSM is particularly effective for persons with autism. Although VSM can be used by anyone, including world-class athletes, it is finding a special therapeutic niche with use for persons with autism, language impairments, and social/emotional challenges.

2. Creating a VSM Video

VSM movies almost always requires some degree of editing in order to make a movie that gives the impression the child is functioning beyond present levels or acting more appropriately. Video editing software usually comes free or at a small cost. Once people get comfortable with the software, videos can be made with all negative behaviors removed, with titles and transitions between clips, and with ambient music when necessary. In this chapter we will look at planning and creating the VSM movie.

3. Research and Establishing VSM as a Research-Based Method

VSM researchers didn’t start focusing on children with autism until 1997. Since then a growing number of studies addressing many behaviors and across a large age range have been conducted. A 2007 meta-analysis of these studies established that VSM met the Council for Exceptional Children's criteria for evidence-based instruction.

4. Evaluating Progress

It is important to have concrete evidence of the results of VSM (or any other intervention). This can be done without disturbing the person being evaluated. Time sampling and other forms of data collection and recording make doing this easier by reducing the time needed for evaluation.

5. What the Future Holds in Store

As technology advances, so will VSM. Face, eye, and mouth replacement are allowing programmers to create apps that produce VSM videos from a single photograph. In 2016 apps will be available that will bring virtual reality to smart phones and tablets.

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