And their is one other, even more important question: "Why isn't VSM being used more given the type of results that are being seen?
Over the years that I have used VSM with kids I have had a nagging thought.."This shouldn't work". We know that short-term memory is controlled by chemical activity among neurons. Long term memory takes brain restructuring requiring a great deal of repetition/practice. That is the whole idea of ABA. So how is it that a child can see themselves performing something new, more advanced, or more appropriate and almost immediately change their behavior...and maintain that new behavior over long periods? Tom Kiehl and Melissa Bray have hypothesized that the visual memory that VSM provides supplants or replaces older memories, even habitual ones. This is an area in great need of research (hint. hint, doc students). Jaw dropping results with VSM shouldn't be happening based on what we know about the brain, and yet, kids who have difficulties eating, playing with others, walking, talking, with tantrums, etc. improve their behaviors soon after watching themselves. I don't have the exact answer to this enigma. Any ideas would be appreciated.
And their is one other, even more important question: "Why isn't VSM being used more given the type of results that are being seen?
Spring update: There was a delay in publishing the VSM course for Medbridge; However, It is now complete and up on their website. You can link directly to it from my home page. A subscription is only $200 a year which is a very good price considering the multitude of courses they have. Once enrolled, you'd have access to hundreds of courses!
Just completed an online CEU course for ASHA. Looks like VSM is gaining momentum. Speech Language therapists (I don't like the term pathologist) are taking the lead in implementing VSM.
I spent last weekend in Seattle filming two courses with Medbridge. They should be available for viewing within 3 months. These are "how to" courses with a target audience of therapists and educators, although parents might benefit as well.
In the first course, I focus on Peer and Point-of-view modeling using lecture, video examples, and graphics. I emphasize the idea of building a video modeling archive. I feel this is the main advantage of using these 2 methods. Once a video is made it can be saved and used as the need arises, providing you have parental consent to do so. Students or clients could sit at a computer to witness a skill or behavior that is currently being taught.
The second course was on VSM which, of course, is my favorite topic. We included 2 full length videos (2.5 mins.), one on early language development and the other on social initiations. I was thrilled to be able to include a video conference with Anthea Naylor and Shane Spence (read more about their work in Victoria, Australia in an earlier blog entry). They add so much power to a presentation by describing their applications of VSM in a real life educational setting - research to practice at its best.
The people at Medbridge were very considerate during our 8-hour shoot. I recently injured my knee so standing for 6 hours was a chore. By the end of the day my knees were shaking. The had me on a mat with hundreds of rubber projections to make standing more comfortable. I think my knee shaking caused me to move like one of those old football games where the players moved by vibrating the board. They had to re-position me a lot. When the day was finally done, my legs were locked and I needed help getting off the mat. It was grueling, but worth it. We also had a young man serving as a peer model in several short videos. He did a great job.
Can't wait to see the finished videos!! Hopefully, this will help get out the word on this amazing teaching tool for persons with autism and other disabilities.
I also got a chance to see three of my favorite college buddies following the shoot!!
They are here!!!
Here's a rare commercial endorsement. Full disclosure = You'll see below.
Medbridge, the online leader in continuing education is offering two new courses: One on "Video Modeling" and one on "Self-Modeling". I am the instructor for both courses. The normal yearly subscription to Medbridge is $425, but if you use the code word "BUGGEY", you can have access to all 400+ courses, and more, for only $200. This is a very inexpensive price that covers all your continuing ed needs!
www.medbridgeeducation.com/buggey Follow this Link and use the code word "Buggey" to receive the discount. Thanks!!
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Speech Language Pathology
MedBridge provides clinicians and healthcare organizations an all-in-one online education platform that provides access to unlimited CEUs, patient education tools, and home exercise programs that enhance clinical excellence, engage patients,…
On Sunday Nov. 22, we were pleased to have Gary Jesch from Invirtua present on his virtual puppeteering work. You need to link to the Youtube video to see it in action. The program can be used as a method of direct instruction with high interest and motivation built in, or the child can control the avatar making it a form of peer-modeling. It is hard to categorize when the child is doing the puppeteering. It's peer-modeling with child control. There are elements of peer, self, and point-of-view modeling within the program. It is fascinating technology designed to facilitate instruction with persons with autism.
I also did a one-day workshop with about 50 persons as part of North Carolina's DEC Annual Conference. It was a great day with good folks who showed great enthusiasm in regards to VSM. I want to thank organizers and attendees for a wonderful experience. Please remember, I love to hear from people about results they are having with VSM and will gladly respond to any questions.
I recently attended the MedicineX Conference at Stanford. I was helping Gary Jesch with his new product that uses animated avatars with children with autism. You can see me to Gary's right on the video screen. What was interesting about this was that I not only had a video presence at the conference, I was there on a Beam. This allowed me to travel among the vendors, view new products, and chat with vendors and attendees. I was a robot for a day. Movement was intuitive using a mouse for controlling direction and speed (up to 1.5 meters per second!). It could use a rear view mirror, however.
Off to Gary's left is one of the animated avatars on a screen on another Beam. Gary controls movement of the avatar and the mouth is synced to Gary's voice = it says what Gary says. Gary is exploring the use of avatars with children with autism. So far the results are promising. visit Gary's Facebook page or his website for more information.
To Gary's left is one of his avatar creations. Gary or a child can control movements, facial expressions (imagine the teaching potential of that), and the mouth movements are synced to the broadcaster's voice. There are human avatars as well.
We hope to do some efficacy studies in the near future.
It Is wonderful when practice intersects with research and that is what is happening in Victoria Australia. Shane Spence and Anthea Naylor are you using self-modeling in creative and effective ways. Both Shane and Anthea our special education teachers. Shane also brings a videography background to his school. His interest in video l led him to the research being done on video self-modeling and he very quickly introduced it to his school especially into his wife Anthea's classroom. They use VSM in their school in three different ways. The first is making videos of individual children performing slightly beyond their present levels. This is the classic form of VSM this we usually see in research. A behavior is selected and the teachers, parents, and therapists decide on the way to capture footage to make it appear that children are acting in an advanced way (having them role play, imitate, or using "creative" editing). They've used it for language, socialization, and even physical challenges. Anthea relates in this video they have a 100% success rate. Not bad when working with children with severe disabilities! Shane established a television studio in his school and now runs a TV station entitled meTV. Shane often uses the self modeling videos in the broadcast. Thus, the self modeling videos become peer-modeling movies with the original "movie stars" getting additional positive reinforcement. The success of meTV has been staggering and has spread all across Australia and into Canada. Anthea also uses VSM for priming in her classroom. During transitions a short video is played of appropriate behavior and the activity in the next class making transitions go much more smoothly. So give a listen to this wonderful webcast. I was just tickled to be able to have them on this show! Here it is on Youtube.
Below is the latest VSM Webcast from Autism Brainstorm. The focus is on very young children with autism, the results of our last study, and the Minnesota VSM Project.
A question was asked during the Hangout by Cassidy concerning whether VSM could work for adults. The answer was yes. Cassidy, you should check out this site: Video Futures at the University of Hawaii. They do futures planning with students transitioning from school to community. They role play where they hope to be in 3 years and film them. They use actual sites like an apartment or work site. They also teach life skills such as job seeking and navigating social challenges. I do wish there were more VSM services for adults, though. I think it could be a great help.
It is relatively easy to make peer-modeling videos You just get some actors, create a script about a common issue, practice and act it out. Voila! you now have a movie about going to a restaurant that can be shared with anyone. Now, think about VSM. It's impossible to use VSM like peer-modeling because you only have access to the one child who will be viewing...Or is it?
There are ways around this problem. You might find a way to replace faces so that with a simple photo you could add a child's face to a peers body to make it appear that they are the star of a movie. You might also just manipulate the eyes and mouth from a photo to make it appear that a child is speaking. This is exactly what two enterprising young professionals have done.
Laura Casey, a special educator in Maine, founded Look at Me Now, a site that uses face replacement to create a variety of self-modeling videos. Because peer-modeling videos serve as the base of each movie, each video done for a family becomes a video that could be used with someone else. The library at LaMN keeps growing. A parent or professional converts a photograph of the child's head so that it fits nicely over the peer's face. The LaMN site provides a template on which to do this. The weakness of this method is that the child does not change expressions or move. The pleasant face of the child looks directly at the viewer the whole time. The movies were made with the peer-model facing forward the entire time. I don't think kids will find this too much of a problem. They will still be seeing themselves. Testimonies from families are extremely positive and reveal that "jaw dropping" effect found in regular VSM movies - major and immediate changes in behavior. Families can have a video made of their child using one of the videos from the library for only $9.99, which I think is a remarkably decent price. You can tell Laura's goal is to help children, not make a fortune.
On the other side of the continent Lois Jean Brady and Matthew Guggemos, two sppech and language therapists (pathologists), were creating INNERVOICE, a revolutionary augmentative communication system that makes use of self-modeling. OK, here's the place where I have a hard time constraining myself. This system is so good, so innovative, and so effective that you must have it. An SLP not using this is not at the top of their game. First, this is an augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) system. It uses symbols, words to allow a child to communicate. The genius here is that the voices are spoken by the children themselves. A photo of the child is used as his/her own avatar. The way this is done is so amazing and accurate that it is almost spooky. Once the child's image is selected the software converts the photo into a 3d image.The head turns slightly in any direction using a cursor and the eyes respond accordingly. At the heart of the avatar is the mouth replacement that is synced to the voice of the app. All of these actions are seamless. The child always looks like the child, although possibly with better teeth. Obviously, the child can not only act as the child's avatar, but also as their model. A peer's voice could be used saying new words or longer sentences. Better yet, any photo works, your cat, your favorite movie star, whatever. My grandkids who were 5 and 3 at the time caught on right away. Once both of their pictures were in, they began by being each other's voice saying things like, "I'm stupid", "I'm a poop head". This insult war sent the entire family to the floor belly laughing. Then they made the cat talk which was equally hilarious. The point here being it was super fun and super easy to use. I tried to trick the software by putting in a picture turned 90 degrees, but the mouth was still perfectly positioned. Like Look at Me Now, INNERVOICE is Priced with the family in mind - $19.99 for the app. Imagine an AAC system for that price. Other apps are in the hundreds of dollars and don't offer the features of INNERVOICE.
I highly recommend the use of these two innovative programs. I mean really highly recommend. They could be life changing for families with children with autism and many other forms of disability.
Coming soon: Using avatars for modeling. Can you create a child as a cartoon character? And, Point-of-vew modeling - self-modeling...kinda.
PART 1 Peer-Modeling
The number of websites, apps, software, and DVD-based programs focused on video modeling is growing. Most are being marketed to teachers and parents of children with autism. Peer modeling videos have been around for a long time. You could say peer modeling was first used in training videos by the armed forces during the World Wars. However, the recent emphasis on (and success of) video-based instruction for kids with autism has resulted in plenty of choices for parents and professionals. The nice thing about peer modeling is that you can make one video on a behavior and it could be used by anyone. This makes marketing and production much simpler than self-modeling - at least that has been the case until recently. But let's focus on the peer-modeling products first.
I have received several enquiries about the program, Gemiini. The creator of the program coined the term Discrete Video Modeling to describe the type of modeling used in her videos. This program looks good although it is a bit pricey at almost $100 a month. They claim that Gemiini has been 14 years in development and has over 12,000 videos. Being able to pick and choose among this many topics would be of great value for professionals. I also like that they ask those who can afford it to pay a little more and they use the extra funds to offer scholarships to less well-off families.
Even Jenny McCarthy is getting into the modeling business (sorry, bad quasi-pun). Teach2Talk has been around for a while. They offer several DVD series including Social Behaviors (Sharing, Communication, and Emotion and Feelings), Play and several academic skills (Prepositions, Pronouns). The cost for each video is $24.99.
The Queen of Social Stories, Carol Gray, along with Mark Shelley, developed a series of videos (Storymovies) with peer models using her Social Stories as the script for role-playing. An adult reads the Social Story with a peer acting out the desired behavior. They offer 25 Social Stories on a DVD for $71. Social Stories involves a set of sentences with each sentence determined by criteria developed by Gray. The research carried out on Social Stories has been mixed and I don't know if any studies have been done on Storymovies. I am not a big fan of Social Stories, but others swear by them. The videos could only be an improvement.
Model Me Kids
They offer several series of videos with a focus on social skills. Each DVD comes with a book and a CD that contains still pictures from the video. These are meant to be flashcards that can be used for further training and reinforcement - nice idea. Individual videos cost $29. Some Model me kids videos are sold individually or several in the same theme can be purchased as a package.
This is designed for teens and older who have more mild autism. The 9th Planet uses a space theme to introduce peer modeling. Tad Shy a space traveler and his robot pal travel to a planet occupied by "Typicals" where they need to learn a variety of social skills. This would appeal to teens. I suspect this would be a very effective tool. 9th planet has 3 main products (courses) containing 6 videos each. Two deal with social behaviors and the third focuses on job search skills. Each pack also contains a users guide and lesson plans can be purchased for $15. Each course costs $35.
Watch Me Learn
They produce a series of social skill videos at $30 per video. WML has been around since 2001 making it one of the first to introduce peer modeling in DVD form. They do make a claim that a university study proves that WML is effective. The study was a student's masters thesis, so I think their claim is a real stretch. Still this provided another video modeling option.
This is very special! Shane Spence from Australia has come up with a way to repurpose self-modeling videos into peer-modeling. Shane makes VSM videos for students at his school in Victoria with great success. He is a videographer/special educator, so he decided to create a TV station partly run by students. After obtaining permission, he broadcasts the VSM videos in his TV show. The station is widely used across Australia and will hopefully be expanding. He selects VSM videos that address issues with wider applications for use in the broadcasts. Thus, the videos are embedded in a sharp looking TV show that has other students providing commentary. I hope it comes to the US.
I am sure I have missed something and I am also sure that there will be significant growth in this area resulting in new products and sources. If you know of another good product, please add it with a comment below. I will monitor posts.