Connection Coder: Video Coding of Interactions to Support Social Comunication and Development

Connection Coder is designed to assist you to look at how interactions between people and help them to be connected in meaningful social communication. It was developed to help caregivers (parents, teachers, and others) as well as researchers track and get feedback on these interactions. Many researchers look at video to understand and help improve Connection. This usually requires a team of people to create and analyze the video. It is time consuming, expensive, and must be done in a lab or university setting. Connection Coder is far simpler and meant to be used in natural environments such as at home, at school, and during other activities or therapy sessions.

The app will train you to look at and code the moments when the participants are connected in an
interaction. You will learn to mark when interactions begin and end, who starts the interaction, and the degree of connection during the interaction. You will also see how the app gives feedback on the overall degree of connection of the interactions in a video clip, including the length of connection, the degree of connection of connections, and the balance between the participants in who is initiating. Once you learn to code videos well enough you will be ready to code your own video. It will tell you from your own scoring whether there is good connection and whether one participant is doing too much of the initiating. You can then use this feedback to try new ideas to improve the overall degree of connection of interactions to support better social communication.

Theory behind the app:
When people have difficulty with social communication, whether due to circumstances such as being upset or developmental difficulties, research shows that we need to help them to be calm enough to interact and be connected to others in meaningful back and forth interactions in order to support better function and learning. We also need to ensure that no single participant is controlling too much of the interaction. Too often we are not paying attention to these things and so we might misinterpret behavior when a person is upset or, alternatively, we might believe an interaction is effective when one participant is actually doing too much of the work. We pay attention to the amount of time that participants are connected. Longer moments tell us that the participants are calm enough to interact and that the flow of social communication is meaningful to them, but only if there is good balance in the amount of work the individuals are doing. If one person is dominating, then even a long interaction might not be very useful in supporting development. For a person who is not yet able to initiate, caregivers who are trying to help may naturally be doing more of the work and the degree of connection of the interaction may feel good. However, when the participants are able to interact but the balance of work is too one-sided, this tells us to try other ideas to improve the balance. If the moments of connection are very brief, we can look at what might be interfering with them, e.g., sensory or motor challenges or some other reason for upset. Then we can work to sort out and address those challenges. Many ideas about how to sort out
and address these kinds of challenges are available through good clinical consultation with professionals who help caregivers with developmental relationship based approaches such as the DIR/Floortime from ICDL or Profectum, the PLAY Project, MEHRIT, BRIDGE Project ImPACT for Toddlers, and related approaches.


Connection Coder is available in the iOS App Store in the U.S. and selected markets worldwide.

Joshua Feder, M.D. Dr. Feder's Blog

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