The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders has updated their research on “Evidence Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with ASD.” Three new methods have been added to this document: cognitive behavior therapy, video modeling, and social scripting.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
While new to the list of Evidence Based Practices for ASD, CBT has been widely used by school psychologists, speech therapists and autism specialists for several years. CBT teaches students to examine their own thoughts and emotions, recognize when negative thoughts and emotions are escalating in intensity, and then use strategies to change their thinking and behavior.
This intervention works well with students who have problems with anger or anxiety. Cognitive behavioral interventions are often used with social narratives and positive reinforcement to help students manage and change their behaviors. If you are new to CBT and would like to implement this intervention in your school we recommend the CAT kit.
Teaching social skills can be challenging for teachers but there are several evidence based methods which are proven to be effective such as social narratives, social skills groups and now social scripting. Social Scripting gives students with autism a verbal or written description about a specific skill that models a specific skill for the learner.
One simple scripting activity that can be used across grade levels is comic strips.
- Select a comic strip and white out the words.
- Photocopy the comic strip to make a worksheet.
- Go over the comic strip with your student or social skills group and discuss the social scenario including emotions, reactions to behaviors, create a conversation together and make predictions. Remember to use comic strips that are age appropriate.
We also have several social skills games that explore vital social concepts and are fun to play with typical peers during your social group time.
Video modeling uses visual recordings to teach students with autism a desired behavior or skill. After watching the video the student is given an opportunity to perform the new skill or behavior. There are several types of video modeling you can use.
- Basic video modeling is a recording of someone besides the learner demonstrating a new behavior or skill.
- Video self-modeling is a recording of the student with autism acting out the new skill.
- Point-of-view video modeling is a little different from the two above in that the video is recorded from the viewpoint of the student with autism. So if you are trying to teach them how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich what they will see on the video is two hands placing the bread down and spreading the peanut butter and jelly.
- Video prompting breaks a new behavior or task into steps so that a student with autism can pause the video as they try each step.
For those who are unable to create their own videos there are several pre-created videos available for teachers and therapists to choose from.