Home Speech-Language Pathology Lights, Camera, Analyze: Slowing Down Social Experiences Through Video Feedback

Lights, Camera, Analyze: Slowing Down Social Experiences Through Video Feedback

by Jessica Simmons

I often find myself pulling out the iPad during sessions. Not for the purpose of playing games or using therapeutic apps, but simply to use the video camera. Video feedback effectively captures the attention of and reinforces a desired behavior with so many of my little friends. The immense benefits to increasing a client’s ability to self-monitor any area of development include attention, emotional regulation, behavior, articulation and interactions with others. Implications for video feedback are endless.

In my experience, video feedback works particularly well in addressing pragmatic language. Teaching social skills in a natural context is challenging because real-life experiences happen so quickly! Video feedback allows us to slow down the interaction, press pause and repeatedly review the clip to teach different aspects of the interaction, such as:

  • Situational awareness
    • Assessing hidden social rules
    • Following the group plan
    • Behavioral expectations
  • Conversation skills
    • Topic selection
    • Maintaining topic
    • Asking questions
    • Listening skills
    • Turn-taking
    • Nonverbal communication
  • Cooperative interaction
    • Understanding others’ perspectives
    • Solving problems
    • Compromising
    • Negotiating

Positive reinforcement continually gets the best results for me in changing a behavior. So when reviewing a video with a client, I focus on what the child did well and what he or she should do more often. Positively reinforcing social skills can instill a greater sense of confidence and increase a child’s motivation for building up an area he or she recognizes as challenging.

Read more about video modeling and specific ways to use it.

Occasionally take the spotlight off of the child by letting him assess the social behaviors of the group. Kids love when they get a turn being the “teacher.” Make it more fun by pointing out silly or unexpected behaviors by the clinician, parent or teacher in the clip. For the social skill being targeted, ask your clients to think through what they might do differently in a similar interaction.

Follow up with role playing the desired social behavior. Then let the child watch himself on video to reinforce the positive skill.

Why use video feedback?

  • It’s quick and easy! A device with a video camera is usually within arm’s reach. It’s easy to take a video of your client and it’s quick to show it back to them as frequently as needed.
  • You can do it during any activity. Need to push into the classroom? Perfect! During recess, playing a game, reading, free play with peers or circle time. Any time, any place and any activity can be a great opportunity to use video feedback.
  • It’s fun! Most kids LOVE watching themselves on video. Capturing a child’s full engagement makes this learning opportunity extra effective.
  • It’s real life. These video clips capture natural moments, which helps clients generalize skills. They think through expectations and nuances of different social experiences rather than memorizing scripted responses or rote behaviors.
  • It’s practical for parents. This strategy provides parents with an opportunity to teach the expectations for any real-world experience. To prepare their child for a successful experience, suggest they save and review videos prior to returning to a repeated event or activity like a church service, baseball game or birthday party.


Jessica Drake-Simmons, MS, CCC-SLP, works at Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley on its social media and blog, helping educate families and caregivers on practical topics for child development. Follow the blog or check out the Pinterest page.

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1 comment

Kerry August 6, 2015 - 12:44 pm

Great article! I also add a checklist for my older clients -they pick one person from the video to analyze, and/or themselves (as long as it feels constructive vs. Critical)

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