Simulation to Build Empathy in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Video Modeling Study

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Title: Simulation to Build Empathy in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Video Modeling Study
Authors: Kajganich, Gillian
Date: 2013
Abstract: Since a deficit in empathy is not only characteristic among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but categorically used in defining ASD, it is of utmost importance to explore educational avenues to build prosocial skills among this group. This study sought to explore the primary research question: What impact does the implementation of an empathy-focused video modeling intervention have on frequency of empathic behaviour among adolescents with ASD? The secondary research questions examined were: In what ways does employing a video modeling simulation intervention using the Model Me Kids Friendship program impact the ability of adolescents with ASD to demonstrate empathic behaviour? How do adolescents with ASD express or speak about their empathic behaviour following participation in a simulation intervention using Model Me Kids Friendship? How do the Educational Resource Facilitators (teaching assistants) perceive the same individuals’ empathic behaviour following participation in a simulation intervention using Model Me Kids Friendship (MMF)? This mixed methods study explores 1 particular video modeling simulation program as a focused approach to building empathic behaviour among adolescents with ASD. The theoretical framework presented blends theory of mind, simulation theory, and psychological theories of empathic behaviour including the inherent motor, cognitive, and emotional components. Individuals with ASD may not learn empathic behaviours solely through observation as typically developing children do, but findings suggest that through video simulation, practice may, in fact, lead to increased empathic behaviour. The quantitative findings were not significant but did show increase in motor empathy behaviour ratings among intervention group participants. Support for video modeling as a vehicle to teach empathic behaviour was provided by qualitative data collected over the course of 4 months contextualizing specific examples of empathic behaviour exhibited by participating teens with ASD. There is a link made between high levels of systematizing among teens on the spectrum (the drive to analyze and build a system) and video modeling as a means to foster empathic behaviour, thereby supporting an increased use of video simulation strategies to teach social skills among this group.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24258
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-3055
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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