Making an About Me video - starring your child!


Maybe it's because we are in West Hollywood. Or maybe it's because my son Max is learning film-making at Hollywood High School. Anyway, we're 1000% into using video as a means to illustrate -- but also to express!

I've used video-making for years with my speech kids. They've made adventure stories that they wrote ("The Mystery of the Lost Treasure"), remakes of Disney Channel movies ("Lemonade Mouth" and "High School Musical"), super hero movies, and even a remake of "Twilight" by my high schoolers. We've gone as far as using green screen for flying scenes (which turned out beautifully!). 

The great, great thing about making videos with speech kids is that they get to practice the speech they are working on over and over, take after take. And they get to hear and see themselves on video for immediate, direct feedback, which is...simply magnificent.

And, honestly, they (and I!) take the video projects so seriously, that they are extremely motivated to produce really good speech (even single word by word and then we splice them together upon edit).

Video modeling is firmly based in research evidence. The reasons for efficacy are straightforward, with the strong visual component of video**. Also, as we know, screens are attention-grabbing for so many of our kids. And, I don't know about you, but I've rarely met a child who didn't enjoy seeing themselves on video.

There are two terrific books about this, if you want to check them out: 

Seeing is Believing: Video Self-Modeling for People with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, by Tom Buggey, PhD (Woodbine House, 2009) at Amazon .

Video Modeling for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, by Sarah Murray and Brenna Noland (Kingsley, 2012) at Amazon .

Editing isn't too bad to do. There are many free or affordable video editing software programs and apps. I personally have used iMovie on my iPad, and Adobe Premier Elements on our PC, and they were pretty easy for a noob like me. 

I really wish I could show you some of those videos the kids have made (I don't have a release to show you!). Trust me, these videos are priceless masterpieces! At least the kids and their parents have a DVD copy at home.

HOWEVER, I can show you Max's latest film project for school, his own About Me video. He edited it, and he wrote and played the backing music track on it. It shows our studio here in West Hollywood as well. He did a bang-up job on this! (Got an A for it at school!)

So now, seriously please do think about making videos with your kids! It's great fun, is speech- and language-building, and well worth the effort! And you'll have it forever to look back on.

We're definitely doing them at Spark Speech Studio!

And we can view them together in the private Theatre Room right here at The Dylan, with popcorn, soda, and movie candies! Ahem, this is HOLLYWOOD after all!!

** UPDATE: November 11, 2017 - I attended a class today at the ASHA convention in Los Angeles on training parents how to use YouTube and other video clips to teach social skills to kids. Dr. Anna Vagin, author of books YouCue Feelings and Movie Time Social Learning (details at made a good point:

By having kids use video as a cue for learning social skills, this is a better, more real-life cue to use than having them listen to a verbally described social scenario or look at a picture of a social scenario. 

Video is just better for most kids.