Valuable Videos for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), carefully selected programming that can be viewed over and over again, serves as a powerful tool for teaching skills, concepts, and even emotional responses.[1] Video modeling is a form of observational learning in which social skills are learned through repeatedly watching a video demonstration and then imitating the behavior of the model. It is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective treatments for improving social skills.[2]

In addition, as you and your child watch videos together, you can establish a common symbolic language, and that language can actually provide the basis for shared imaginative play. Videos can stimulate the imagination with new images, ideas, and scenarios.

What’s most important is to choose the right videos for you and your child. Clearly there are many out there, so knowing which ones are most beneficial can be tricky, but here’s a list of ones worth considering:

  1. Baby Bumblebee Series

Offering various series that work to build vocabulary, introduce sentences, and identify emotions, the Bumblebee videos have become a parent favorite. With appropriate music and an overall entertaining, non-monotonous feel, the Baby Bumblebee videos will keep your child’s attention while instilling invaluable learning.

  1. 9th Planet

9th Planet videos model social skills for teens and young adults by featuring a fictional person from another planet who is learning the skills to interact with others, form relationships, and look for a job.  The fictional person, who is played by a young film student on the autism spectrum, also edits the videos and helps write the scripts.[3]

  1. Model Me Faces & Emotions™

The Model Me Faces & Emotions™ video presents a variety of faces and emotions featuring children ages 2-8. Each scene lasts between one to two minutes, depending on the chapter. At the end of each chapter is a storyboard summarizing the emotion shown. This video is narrated with music by Rachel Rambach, a Board-Certified Music Therapist, and contains a score developed specifically for Model Me Faces & Emotions™. This unique merger of video modeling and music therapy is designed to help teach skills in a way that appeals to the strengths of children with developmental disabilities.

  1. Time for School™

This video presents social skills in the context of school. It features elementary school-aged children demonstrating appropriate social skills in the classroom, library, on the playground, and in the hallway. Each scene lasts between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, depending on the chapter. At the end of each chapter is a storyboard summarizing the rules taught. Visuals are combined with narration and graphics that help explain the particular rule. Each social skill is demonstrated in more than one situation and across environments.

  1. Kibbles Rockin’ Clubhouse
    As the parents of a child with ASD, Scott and Ann Leslie understand the need for therapeutic products that capture their son Gage’s interest in a fun and motivational medium, while helping to improve his behavioral and communication skills. Kibbles Rockin’ Clubhouse successfully combines video modeling with the techniques of music therapy. Music serves as the glue that helps the lessons stick.
  1. Mi-Stories
    Autism Mi-Stories are videos that can be viewed on an iPod or DVD player, designed to help individuals with ASD. The videos present models of behavior and language skills that are appropriate in specific situations. Mi-Stories provides opportunities to imitate, review, revise, and relax to facilitate appropriate social behavior.
  2. Milt the Talking Musky
    Milt The Talking Musky focuses on teaching 86 Sight Words through his Sing Along Song DVD with highlighted text and lyrics as the song is being sung. The combination of music and video is proven to increase learning retention in young children.
  3. Raising the Bar: Fitness & Movement Exercises for Youth and Adults With Autism 
    This DVD features a series of developmental activities and exercises that can be used to enhance these attributes in youth and adults with autism. As an integral part of the fitness, sport, and wellness programs of Right Fit, a Willowbrook, Illinois-based company, each activity/exercise is explained and demonstrated in an easy-to-understand manner.
  4. The Power of Words
    As an adult with an autism diagnosis, Judy Endow has experienced firsthand what it feels like to be the “1” in the 1 in 150. The Power of Words combines words, pictures, and music to present examples of how the “149” talk about the “1” with autism, noting that even well-meaning and kind words can set the tone for acceptance or rejection as well as for inclusion or exclusion. This powerful DVD helps us to use language wisely.

The power of the right video or series for you and your child can be mutually beneficial, and a lot of fun. For additional video suggestions beyond the list discussed here, visit: https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/video-tools-dvds.

[1] http://autism.about.com/od/inspirationideas/tp/TVOK.htm

[2] http://www.noteabilities.com/

[3] https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/video-tools-dvds

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