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

presented by Tom Buggey

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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

    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 numerous grants, most of which provided technical assistance to schools and families in the areas of inclusion, assistive technology, positive behavior supports, early intervention, and school reform. He also worked closely with the State Dept. of Education and the Division of Mental Retardation Services on numerous projects. In addition to the grants, he was also responsible for designing the curricula for the 5-course Home Manager Training Program now being offered in most Community Colleges in Tennessee – the first such program in the country. He also was instrumental in establishing the Access Center for Technology, the first ATA accredited assistive technology center located on a university campus. In 2007 he was appointed Siskin Chair of Excellence in Early Intervention at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he focused on his line of research in Video Self-Modeling (VSM). He has conducted research on this very promising technique (especially with children with autism) since 1993 and has published numerous research papers on the topic. In 2009 he published the first book on VSM Seeing is Believing. He is currently on the editorial board of Focus on Autism and serves on the advisory boards of Autism Behavior Services, Lookatmenow, and Invirtua. In December of 2014 he retired so that he could focus on the next steps in video modeling: providing a way to bring VSM and video-based instruction into mainstream use in the field of autism. He presently resides in Hixson, TN with his wife Ann.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Background and Definitions

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.