Language Development is my favorite way to use Video Stories. It has been a successful strategy for many children including my own son. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million words, because you can actually add a soundtrack with language to the pictures. You can demonstrate the purpose of language, the cause and effect of using language to get what you want or to make connections. Start where you are and build up from there. You can use whatever language the student has, whether that be visual symbols, a communication device, sign language, eye gaze, approximations of sounds, simple phrases, etc. Your student may need prompts (visual or verbal cues) to build an extra layer onto their current language. When the prompts are edited out, and the students see themselves in the Video Story using the new words independently and successfully, those words become their own. They see themselves as successful communicators and begin to initiate their new language in real life situations.
For my son, we have used Video Stories to increase his verbalizations and improve his articulation. When we started it was nearly impossible to pull any language out of him at all. We needed to make the activities super exciting and model the simple words we wanted him to say. We would model each word and wait for a response, such as “Wow…… I see……Airplane.” Then I edited out our prompts, so that it seems as if Solomon is initiating whole phrases on his own. Since an airplane trip was one of the most exciting things ever, I took advantage of that opportunity to prompt a lot of language, commenting on what he was experiencing. Then I edited all the prompts out, so that Solomon sees himself using those words independently. I was also prompting with exaggerated articulation to help improve the pronunciation of each word.
The Video Stories were successful. After six months, he was not only repeated full sentences rather than one word at a time, he was initiating full sentences on his own and speaking with much better articulation as well. The difference between our first Video Stories and the ones six months later is tremendous. There is 5 times more language, with much of it self-generated, and much more understandable.
To learn more about using Video Stories to promote language development, see the posts on the Language page.