By Amy Barnhill, Bloomington Center Social Thinking Instructor
At the Bloomington Center, we are very excited about our continued use of video as an intervention tool in our social thinking program! The two video techniques we’re using are “Video Self-Modeling” and “Video Self-Evaluation.” In Video Self-Modeling, the students observe themselves performing a social behavior successfully and then imitate that behavior in the natural environment.
For example, one of our students is working towards increasing facial expressions; specifically, increasing ‘smiling’ when she greets others. During a Social Thinking session, we created a situation for her to engage in this behavior successfully and then recorded her performance. She’ll then view this video clip before she enters a real life social situation. When she enters the situation, we anticipate that she will greet others with a smile. Furthermore, as she continues to watch the video we hope that she will carry out this “expected behavior” across situations and environments.
In Video Self-Evaluation, students observe themselves engaging in a current social behavior and then evaluate their present level of performance. This procedure is used to help increase students’ self-awareness. As they make progress towards enhancing their skills, they are able to observe that progress incrementally via video. Observing their own successes in a visible manner really seems to help keep them motivated!
Last week I asked the students a few questions about using in video in our sessions–their responses are below…
Amy: What are the skills/goals you are working on using video?
K: “Whole Body Listening” and facial expressions. Whole Body Listening means you are looking directly at the person who is talking and not looking anywhere else. Sometimes I feel nervous meeting someone new, and I think that it makes people feel like I don’t want to talk to them. With facial expressions, I’ve learned that it’s important to smile when you meet someone and start a conversation. A smile makes a new person feel welcome.
B: I’m working on starting conversations, like just saying “hi” to someone new.
A: Giving more information – elaborating on what I have to say and telling a story. I’m trying to think more about what to say to another person and not just give one word answers. I’d like people to see me as interesting, and I’d like people to want to talk to me more.
Amy: What do you like best about using videos during Social Thinking?
K: I like the sound of my voice and watching my expressions when I talk about things. My voice sounds cooler, deeper I guess, on video. When I hear my voice when I’m talking, it doesn’t sound like that to me—I think I sound unsure myself in my head. On camera, my voice comes across as more confident. I also notice a lot of expression on my face when I talk about my day; I notice expressions on other people’s faces, too. Sometimes it’s difficult to interpret a person’s facial expressions, but seeing it on video and talking about it is easier.
B: I talk really well on the video camera. Sometimes I get worried about being filmed. I worry that I talk too slow, but on camera I sound ok. I like to videotape the other people, too.
A: I like watching us to see how well we are doing and what we need to improve on. In one exercise, someone asked me a question, and I had to give more information than just a short answer. I think I did pretty well—it’s nice to get more practice and be able to see myself practicing.
Amy: Do you think video self-modeling and video self-evaluating is helpful? Why?
K: It is helpful because it is teaching me about how to be social. I really want to make more friends, so it helps me to see myself as other people see me. I also work doing bag checking at the IU football games, so it’s important to smile at people when they come in—that’s an example of using the facial expressions that I practice on video.
B: Yes – because my voice sounds okay, I feel more confident. When I feel more confident, I tend to talk more.
A: It helps me realize how many comments I’m making—I noticed that I don’t give much information when I talk. Video taping myself helps me work on talking more.