Current Research

Teaching Toddlers with Autism Using Video Modeling


September 2013


Children with autism learn best through visual supports such as pictures and videos to teach them important everyday tasks and activities. The video modeling approach is a research-based intervention that has proven to be effective for children with autism ages 3 years and older. However, this approach has not yet been tested for children younger than three years of age. Kathy Stewart, MS, OTR/L, an Occupational Therapist and Research Coordinator at Boyer Children’s Clinic, recently received approval from the University of Washington to study the effectiveness of video modeling with children younger than 3 years to teach motor imitation skills needed for everyday tasks and activities.

Video modeling is a form of observational learning where desired behaviors are taught through the use of short video clips of an adult or peer performing a task or activity. The child watches the video clip and then gets a turn to imitate the desired behavior. The video modeling approach may have the potential to teach young children the motor imitation skills needed for play with objects, self-help tasks, and social-communication.

New tablet technology such as the iPad has expanded the ways we can teach children with autism. The iPad offers a convenient way to create video models and to provide a visual support to children in therapy. Through a generous donation by the D.V. & Ida McEachern Charitable Trust, Boyer recently acquired several iPads for use with young children. Over the next several months, Boyer staff will be researching the effect of iPad-based video modeling to improve motor imitation skills in very young children with autism spectrum disorders.

Parents interested in this study can contact Kathy Stewart at Boyer Children’s Clinic at 206-876-3526.

Past Research

The following flyers were developed by staff at Boyer Children's Clinic based on the best available research evidence and clinical expertise. Please read Evidence-Based Practice Early Intervention Project for further explanation. Additional flyers are under development and will be posted when completed.

Feeding Skills Progression of Foods (PDF Document)
Developed by Kimberly Lum, MOT, December 2009

Fine Motor Skills Hand Grasp Development (PDF Document)
Developed by Kimberly Lum, MOT, December 2009

Gait Characteristics of Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy Before and After Modified Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (Word Document)
Reviewed by Carolyn Kates, MS PT, at Boyer Children’s Clinic

Evidence-Based Practice Early Intervention Project (Word Document)
By Katherine B. Stewart, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

The Use of Botox* as Adjunct Treatment in Children with Cerebral Palsy Who Toe-Walk (Word Document)
By Elizabeth B. McCarthy, MS, PT

Occupational Therapy and Botox A Injections in Upper Extremities of Children with Cerebral Palsy to Enhance Functional Outcomes (Word Document)
By Nancy Glidden-White, OTR/L

Natural Environments or Naturalistic Learning Opportunities: What is the Evidence in Early Intervention? (Word Document)
By Katherine B. Stewart, MS, OTR/L

Outcomes of Relationship-Based Early Intervention (Word Document)
By Katherine B. Stewart, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

Use Of Hippotherapy with Children Who Have Cerebral Palsy (Word Document)
By Gay Burton, MS, PT

Orthotic Treatment of Flat Feet in Children with Low Muscle Tone (Word Document)
By Carolyn Kates, MS, PT

Evidence for Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (Word Document)
By Kara Bulthaup, Carol Chappelle, Cortney Deardorff, Annie McMahon, MOTS

Sensory Processing Disorders in Infant and Young Children: The Role of Occupational Therapy (Word Document)
By Katherine B. Stewart, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

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