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Teen videos help teach social skills to kids with autism


Researchers at Michigan State University say video-based teaching could help teens with autism learn social skills so they can live more independently.

Earlier studies have shown that many people with autism pay closer attention when they're getting information from innovative technology.

MSU Assistant Professor of Special Education Josh Plavnick  says videos of other teens shown to those with autism do leave an impression because they offer context.
"And you show them engaging in behavior you want the child with autism to perform," Plavick explains. "You show that entire video sequence to them, followed by an opportunity for them to do the same thing.

"We've been finding fantastic attendance to the video and then the students perform those skills with one another, so they're actually interacting with one another in that group setting of about four to five students after watching the video.

Plavnick says the videos are repeated as often as necessary, and could one day be a helpful classroom tool.

He developed the group teaching techniques with colleagues while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Their findings are published in the research journal Exceptional Children.