Teaching Conversation Skills to Adults With Developmental Disabilities Using a Video-Based Intervention Package

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BACKGROUND: Social skills deficits may hinder learning, terminate relationships, and impede employment. Many individuals with autism and intellectual disability experience difficulties in social judgement, emotional regulation, and interpersonal relationships, all of which can lead to disruptive and aggressive behaviors. Explicit instruction, video modeling, and video feedback are research-based practices that have been used to teach conversation skills to individuals with developmental disabilities and social impairments. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of explicit instruction combined with video modeling and video feedback in teaching conversation-initiation skills to six adults ages 18-20 with autism and intellectual disability in a post-high school transition program. METHODS: A multiple baseline across dyads design was used, with number of correct initiation responses as the independent variable. The independent variable was an intervention package including explicit verbal instruction with interspersed video modeling clips, followed by video feedback. RESULTS: All six participants acquired the skills and were able to initiate a conversation; five of them maintained these skills over time, demonstrating them without the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Data supported a evidence functional relation between the intervention package and the participants' social initiation skills. Social validity responses indicated that participants enjoyed watching the videos of models and especially enjoyed watching the videos of themselves.