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The effects of video modeling on alternative activity choices of preschool children with autism

posted on 2017-01-16, 05:28 authored by Chong, Renee Yee May
Children with autism generally have object obsessions. This could have adverse effects on their social life and hinder their development. The objective of this research was to investigate whether video modeling could increase alternative activity choices of such children. This was done through a series of four studies. The first study was a survey to find out whether parents and teachers think that it was important to teach, and for preschoolers to learn, choice-making skills, as these would affect the formers' perceptions on the importance of alternative activity choices. Results of this survey showed that the parents and teachers of preschoolers thought that it was important to teach preschoolers and for them to learn choice-making skills. As the primary objective of this research is to teach young children with autism to replace their obsessive behaviours with choices of alternative behaviours, the first study would help validate the objective of the research. The second study was a normative study carried out to assess the average response latencies of typically developing peers of the participants, in the subsequent intervention studies, when they are asked to change activities. Results showed that the average response latencies of the peers were between 4 to 6 seconds, depending on the type of instruction (choice or no-choice). These average response latencies were later used in the third study as a benchmark to compare with those of the participants themselves. The third study, an experimental study, investigated whether video modeling and reinforcement could decrease the average response latencies of the participants to instructions requesting them to terminate their activities involving their objects of obsession and to change to alternative activities upon request. Concomitant effects on the average engagement time of the participants in the alternative activities were also examined. Results from this study showed that video modeling in class was the most effective, compared to video modeling at home and reinforcements, in reducing the average response latencies of the participants. However, video modeling, nor reinforcement, had any conclusive evidence in increasing the average engagement times of the participants. When the average response latencies of the participants had been decreased to levels comparable to their peers, the last study, another experimental study, then examined the effects of video modeling and pictorial representations on increasing the alternative activity choices of the participants. Results of the last study showed that all the participants were able to change to at least one alternative activity upon request with the help of video modeling and pictorial representations. In conclusion, this research provided some evidence that it was possible to use video modeling to help the participants to terminate their engagement in their objects of obsession and to change to alternative activities upon request. Effects of reinforcement and pictorial representations on the performance of the participants were also discussed.


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Principal supervisor

Umesh Sharma

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Monash University. Faculty of Education. Education


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education

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