Document Type

Critically Appraised Topic

Publication Date


Clinical Scenario

One of the hallmarks of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a deficit in social skills. This population has grown to 1 in 110 children in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010), and occupational therapists have many opportunities to work with this population. Because social participation is listed as an area of occupation in the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008), it is important that practitioners provide interventions that specifically target the social deficits that are observed in children and adolescents with ASD. According to Njardvik, Matson, and Cherry, if socialization is not addressed in the younger years of life, deficits may persist into adulthood (as cited in Nikopoulos & Keenan, 2007).

There are many interventions available to use. Video modeling is one type of intervention that does not seem to be well known or researched. It is a technique that requires video equipment for recording and displaying visual models, and is typically used to teach desired behaviors or skills (National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2011). There are many types of video modeling, the basic type involves recording a person performing a target behavior or skill, and then the video is watched by whoever may need to learn the specific behavior. Another type is video self-modeling, which involves the person intended to learn specific behaviors performing those successfully while being recorded (2011).

Studies by Corbett and Charlop-Christy et al. have found that the television can be a motivating factor for children with ASD (as cited in Cardon & Wilcox, 2010), which is one reason why this intervention may prove to be an effective way to increase socialization in this population. Due to lack of knowledge and research thus far, this CAT explores the intervention’s effects on socialization.

Clinical Question

How can video modeling impact socialization in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Clinical Bottom Line

Research shows that video modeling can be an effective technique for increasing socialization in children and adolescents with ASD. This intervention utilizes knowledge about social interactions and behaviors, and combines that information with a media that has been observed to be motivating in this population. It is an attainable and relatively quick treatment to administer that can be used in a variety of settings. Given the increases of technology in this country, it should be easy to teach this intervention to practitioners who have a basic understanding of video recording and playing.