Autism Language Program
Two-way Observational Learning
Many children with autism have difficulty learning in a general classroom, due to the distractions, face-to-face interactions, and standard pacing. Two-way Observational Learning introduces an innovative way to use video to teach children with autism essential concepts and ideas. Observational learning typically involves student with autism viewing a prerecorded video where a model teaches specific behaviors and concepts.
In the ALP at Boston Children's Hospital, we have pioneered the use of a two-way observational environment where there is a "live" connection between the learner, who appears on a TV monitor in one room, and an instructor, who appears on a separate TV monitor in another room.
This controlled setting:
- focuses a child's attention to what is happening on the TV screen
- provides the familiar television environment that children with autism enjoy
- provides real-time face-to-face interaction through the TV screen
- takes advantage of video techniques such as highlighting and zooming
- reduces the pressure of face-to-face interactions in the same room
- allows familiar people to interact during the two-way experience
Learners watch the instructor on the monitor while the instructor delivers well-planned instructional activities. The instructor can also monitor the child's performance and give real-time guidance, feedback and reinforcement to ensure that the task is learned correctly.
It is important to note that this setting requires cameras, appropriate recording equipment and flat screen television panels.