The effects of video modeling and a lag schedule of reinforcement on toy play behaviors of children with autism

Fragale, Christina Lin
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Video modeling is a research-based intervention used to teach play skills to children with autism. While children learn to imitate the play behaviors seen in the video, increases in play behaviors different from the video were not apparent. The current study examined the use of video modeling and video modeling with an added lag schedule of reinforcement, on increasing toy play of five children with autism in their homes. During video modeling, the children watched a short video portraying a person playing with toy figurines. Then, they were given the toys and instructed to play independently for 5-min. During the video model with lag schedule reinforcement, praise and preferred snacks were provided when his or her toy play was different from immediately preceding responses during the play session. A nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design was used to examine the effects. Overall results indicated that the children learned scripted toy play and increased in levels of varied play, but did not increase significantly nor decrease in levels of unscripted toy play from baseline. Even with the additional reinforcement, the children’s play did not increase in levels of varied play, scripted or unscripted play behaviors for four of five participants. Social validity of the child’s play outcomes and the perceived ease of use of the intervention were assessed using questionnaires filled out by parents and behavioral therapists. Discussion, limitations, and implications for future research are presented.