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Jennifer Quintanilla

EDUU 677
Due 6/3/2018

Evidence-Based Practices: Instructional Strategies

At the very heart of it, a teacher’s job is to do just that: teach. They desire to educate the

students about a plethora of topics, pouring their knowledge into their students. For a special

education teacher, it is no different. Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder still desire to be

taught, and to learn about the world around them. The teacher just must be prepared to instruct

them in ways that make the learning accessible for the ASD student. Instruction may not be

focused on “reading, writing, and arithmetic,” but may span subjects, as well as instruction in

communication, behavior, and social skills. This instruction is the most beneficial when it is

done through the use of an evidence-based practice.

One such evidence-based practice that is useful for instruction is Modeling. Modeling is

an instructional strategy that is used in many different scenarios, and in general education and

special education classrooms alike. On her blog, Special Education teacher Chris Rae points out

that “If you think about it, most things we learned in school started with the teacher

demonstrated the skill. We learn on the job in the same way–first we observe another

teacher, then we practice” (Rae, 2016). ASD students are no different. Watching

someone model a particular skill or process for completing an activity, observing their

methods, then replicating it on their own, is one of the best ways to practice the

information being taught.

Another evidence-based practice that is related to Modeling is Video Modeling. Where

Modeling (sometimes referred to as “in vivo modeling”) involves the use of another person or
peer modeling a strategy or skill in real time, in real life, Video Modeling involves video

recordings of others modeling strategies and skills that the student can then view at a later time.

Kaitlyn P. Wilson, in her article “Teaching Social-Communication Skills to Preschoolers with

Autism: Efficacy of Video Versus In Vivo Modeling in the Classroom” argues that “Video

modeling is a time- and cost-efficient intervention that has been proven effective for children

with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” (Wilson, 2012). Few studies have been done that

compare the efficiency between Modeling and Video Modeling. Common sense would dictate

that the effectiveness of the evidence-based practice would have to do with the individual

student. For a student who greatly struggles with social interaction, eye contact, and overall

communication, in vivo Modeling may not be the best choice, as it requires the student to

follow along with and mimic another person. Video Modeling may be more beneficial in that

case, as the student would be able to utilize technology to observe the lesson as opposed to

doing it in person. Furthermore, the National Professional Development Center on Autism

Spectrum Disorders lists three separate types of video modeling, that may be tailored to the

individual need of the student:

1. Basic video modeling: recording someone besides the learner engaging in the target

behavior or skill;

2. Video self-modeling: the learner is recorded displaying the target behavior or skill

and is reviewed later; and

3. Point-of-view video modeling: the target behavior or skill is recorded from the

perspective of the learner (Franzone & Collet-Klingenberg, 2008).

A third evidence-based practice that can be used for instruction is Prompting.

Prompting is when an adult (and sometimes a peer) uses verbal or visual prompts, or prompts
by gesturing, to assist the learner in acquiring a new skill. Dervla Hayes notes that i n her

observations, when an ASD student does not begin or engage in a task, it is often because they

are not sure what they are expected to do. She maintains that “a well-timed, clear prompt to

show the child what is expected, or a prompt to give the child the words to use in a given

situation, can keep the child engaged in learning and support the successful development of

language, communication and social interaction skills” (Hayes 2013). Prompting is intended as a

cue or reminder of sorts, to assist the student in what needs to happen next, eventually allowing

them to become independent at the skill being taught. Over time, the goal is to fade out the

prompting while still having the student be able to complete the target skill.

In the classroom, many teachers already use these instructional strategies without

knowing that they are evidence-based practices. Teacher just know a good practice when they

see it. Allowing a student time to see the skill being utilized before they must do it on their own

just makes sense. Think about all of the math practice problems that you probably completed as

a student. The teacher would walk through a few problems step-by-step, allowing the class time

to observe. Next, a few problems would be done as a group, with the teacher giving different

cues as to what the next steps should be. Then finally, it was time to practice problems

independently. These instructional strategies include the same observation, practice, and

independent work.

When working with students in an ASD classroom, I think that consistency is key.

Whichever strategy or evidence-based practice is being implemented to help instruct the student,

it needs to be the same across the board. Whether it is the teacher, a 1-on-1 aide, or another staff

member, everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to the strategy. For Modeling

and Video modeling, the same steps need to be presented every time. The same expectation
needs to be worked on. With Prompting, it is imperative that the same prompts are used. If one

staff member is trying to fade out the prompting, but another is constantly giving prompts after

only a second or two, the fidelity of the strategy is being compromised. Not being on the same

page can also cause confusion for the student, which could lead to them being unwilling or

unmotivated to work. With the student that I have been working with, we all use the same

prompting phrase “A--- seems frustrated. Does A--- need a break?” She then will typically

point or grab one of the break pictures, or she will shake her head no, indicating that she is ok.

We all look for the same signs of frustration (balling her hands, slight rocking, and her face goes

blank), and know to prompt her. All staff use the same practices because we know it is in the

best interest of the student, which is ultimately all that matters.


Franzone, E., & Collet-Klingenberg, L. (2008). Overview of video modeling. Madison, WI: The
National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Waisman
Center, University of Wisconsin.

Hayes, D. (2013). The Use of Prompting as an Evidence-based Strategy to Support Children with
ASD in School Settings in New Zealand. Kairaranga, 14(2), 52-56. Retrieved June 2,

Rae, C. (2016, January 22). Applying the Research: Modeling as an Evidence-Based Practice in
Autism. Retrieved June 1, 2018, from

Wilson, K. P. (2012). Teaching Social-Communication Skills to Preschoolers with Autism:

Efficacy of Video Versus In Vivo Modeling in the Classroom. Journal of Autism and
Developmental Disorders, 43(8), 1819-1831. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1731-5