This video clip is like one of those Russian Dolls that has smaller and smaller dolls tucked inside. I made this video clip to demonstrate (to anyone interested) how visual supports are used. But, at the same time this video clip was made for two boys who have a weekly play date together because I wanted these two friends to learn some things while not in each other's company. Both boys are excited to play together but that state of excitement makes learning some things harder for them. Also, since the strategy of video modeling (what I am doing by making this clip) is actually a kind of a visual support, this is a video model of a video model as well as a video model of using visual supports.....Yikes! I'm getting confused here myself. I will summarize and get myself out of this confusion by saying that there were several reasons for making this video clip. You can watch it to learn about using picture symbols as a visual support. You can watch it to see that video models are made for all kinds of learning purposes. You can watch it to see how a play date can be structured.
This clip will be shown, (I hope this week over the Internet) to two boys who meet each week at my clinic for a play date. They find the play sessions exciting but also rather overwhelming. The visual schedule that we use each week helps both boys stay emotionally regulated--although I am still looking for more strategies to help them because the excitement and the anxiety in the room as these boys come together is palpable. I am hoping that by watching this video clip both boys will be able to think about the structure of our sessions--understand what will happen each time and be able to feel less anxious because they have this information.
The video support and this clip explain to the boys the order of events. We always start our time together with a Surprise Box activity. Both boys love standing up and pounding the box and yelling Surprise Box! with me. We look at a few things in the box, each time pounding, yelling, and then me acting surprised at what I see in the box. They both put their hands over their eyes and act surprised too. As we look at new things in the box, we comment on these, pass the items back and forth, practice taking turns, and move on to a new item as soon as anyone suggests we do. After Surprise Box, we play another two games (these change weekly) and at the end we have a juice box together before we leave.
For one of the boys, I am using this video clip, and a visual support, to emphasize that he can say he does not want to do an activity and we will not do it. I show him the Not Bowling visual in this clip to highlight that we don't do activities in our play sessions if anyone expresses disinterest. A goal for both boys is that they learn to negotiate and choose games to play that they both enjoy. I may end up writing a social story to help both boys know that in this play session--either boy can say yes or say no to a game. Right now, one of the boys expresses his disinterest in an activity in a manner that is less direct and more problematic. But, I think that he is starting to understand that he can just say I don't like this and we will move on to another game. Right now, I am choosing the activities that we do and using a schedule rather than a choice board because both boys tend to get stuck on what they want to play. I want to build a more varied set of games that they both know how to play before I give them a choice board to choose from.
At the end of the clip, I show a visual support that is meant to be sent home after the play date to help the boys talk about the things that they did together. Friendship means thinking about a friend when you are apart, thinking about things you did together and planning new things to do in the future. This little visual support will help the parents help their boys develop these skills during the week.
Next Blog: What is a visual support?