Try This Tuesday #3: Using Videos as Instructional Tools — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Try This Tuesday #3: Using Videos as Instructional Tools

by Trish


Try This Tuesday

When my son was younger, I often felt guilty about letting him watch children’s television and videos, especially since I kept hearing about the negative effects of too much screen time. I was amazed, however, by his ability to virtually memorize entire DVDs as well as by the amount of detail he could remember.

At some point, I started thinking about how to use videos as teaching tools rather than simply as entertainment. Because many of the social behaviors and problem solving skills demonstrated in the regular programs seemed to sail right by him, I began searching for videos that could provide some of the information I was trying so hard to convey.

One of the DVDs I came across was “Let’s Go To” produced by Special Kids. It covers the routines and expectations for going to many different places in the community, including the doctor’s office, the barber, the grocery store, the movie theater, and many more. He watched it eagerly, and I knew my investment had paid off when we went into the doctor’s office and Michael turned and cautioned me, “We may have to wait.”

Special Kids also has videos on self-help skills such as getting ready and other informational topics such as a day at school, as well as other related products including flashcards and books or CDs. A couple of other video series that have been used successfully by many parents are:

I’d love to hear what videos you have used as teaching tools, especially as your kids move into the elementary school ages, as well as your own creative solutions to the challenges you have encountered. For more details on how to participate, click here.

Find out more about Trish
Read Trish’s weekly column
You can also find Trish at her blog, Another Piece of the Puzzle.

Email Author    |    Website About Trish

Married for over 16 years and mom of a six year old son with autism, I spend most of my time as my Little Guy's case manager/advocate/ cheerleader/everything else.

View all articles by


This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you support this site. Thank you!
See our Disclosure Policy for details.
1 Susan August 5, 2008 at 7:48 am

I needed the “Let’s Go DVD a couple of weeks ago. The dentist was a treat.
N loves trucks and tractors so we have DVDs on how trucks work and what they do for people. Watching ABC DVD’s helped N with learning his ABC’s

2 Jenny August 5, 2008 at 8:18 am

Thanks, Trish! My kids love the Baby BumbleBee videos, but we haven’t watched the others. I’ll have to check them out!

3 Maddy August 5, 2008 at 10:31 am

Dang! I have the wrong widget on my blog!

Anyway. Videos/ DVDs

Yoga for kids was a good one. Only ‘worked’ for one pretzel kind of a child.

Oh I’d better be more even handed than that=
1 st daughter = Wizard of Oz which taught her….to dream?

2nd daughter = Sesame street which taught her how to be an American and practice the accent

3rd child – a brainy baby video on shapes. They enjoyed a love hate relationship as they featured an oval rather than an ‘elipse.’

4th child – Thomas the Tank Engine and his rabble. Taught him how to recognise three facial expressions, invaluable of course.


4 Nicole August 5, 2008 at 10:42 am

We loved “Signing Time” in our home. :)

5 Julie August 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Most of what Daniel knows have come from videos! We have the Bounce one about Emotions. I should put that one on again. We stopped watching movies when he simply watched them frame-by-frame…

I signed Mr. Linky. I have a question and not a tip. I hope that’s ok.

6 PsychMamma August 5, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Trish –

I can’t wait to check out the “Lets Go To” series! Jenna watches a movie every morning for an hour while she’s on her feeding pump, and I’m always looking for something educational. I think she would love these. The series about emotions would be good to check out too. Thanks for a great idea!

7 Danette August 6, 2008 at 7:49 am

Hi Trish -

I read yhis yesterday but didn’t have a chance to leave a comment. This is a great suggestion, the “Lets go to” series sounds like something that might be really helpful for LB.

He and his brothers learned the alphabet in part by watching a “letters” video, I don’t remember the name of it but it was set to classical music. They also learned the planets and shapes from watching Baby Einstein videos :). They already knew the numbers but CB and BH loved watching the Baby Einstein numbers video, it was only 1-5 but it had a train and there was one part with the puppets racing in little race cars which they LOVED, they thought it was hilarious.

Thomas videos helped with things like emotions (those exaggerated expressions on the trains’ faces and the fact that they held the expression longer than just a second were helpful).

8 Trish August 6, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Hmmm, Wizard of Oz – I think he would be standing in the kitchen most of the time waiting for the scary parts to be over!

Thank you to everyone who participated, and I think it’s great that Julie posted a question for everyone’s input.

9 Jennifer, Snapshot August 6, 2008 at 5:14 pm

I’ve recently rediscovered Hi-5 on TLC (and also on DVD). My now 9-year-old daughter watched it, and I knew it was acclaimed and awarded, but never really “got it.”

Recently it’s one of my 4-year-old son’s favorite shows, and I love it too! Each episode focuses on a theme, so it might be colors, animals, or the five senses, but it’s always high on fun and imagination (and singing and dancing).

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: