Department of Psychology

Developing and Delivering Digital Behavioural Interventions (3DBI)

We are a research team based at the University of Bath, funded by The Leverhulme Trust to complete exciting new research developing technology to support the writing and delivery of Social Stories™.

What are Social Stories™?

Social Stories™ are short stories, written in a specific format and style that aim to accurately describe a context, skill or achievement (dinner time, bath time, waiting in line for example).

They provide a supportive visual tool to help children better understand what is happening during certain situations that they might find confusing and/or distressing.

Research has demonstrated that Social Stories™ can be an effective intervention for supporting people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), particularly in improving social and behavioural outcomes. However, findings can be mixed and this may be due to variations in how the Social Stories™ are written and/or presented to the child.

Our research project

 
Participants of the Developing and Delivering Digital Behavioural Interventions taking part in participatory design workshop sessions.

Participants taking part in participatory design workshop sessions.

 

As part of our research we have been developing a new app for the iPad to support the development of appropriately-structured Social Stories™, and their effective delivery to the children.

The primary goal of our new computer system is to improve wellbeing in the ASD population, and in their parents/carers, by reducing challenging behaviour. The unique approach to development was one of inclusive design - by including children with ASD, their parents, carers, teachers and health professionals as an active part of the system design team.

Children with autism typically enjoy using technology, and our new app is capable of tailoring to meet the individual needs of the children.

Evaluation

The evaluation phase is currently underway. We are particularly interested to find out whether our new app can help children to:

  • modify their behaviour
  • increase their understanding of a specific situation/event
  • decrease anxiety levels

So far we have been working with staff and children at the Margaret Coats Centre and the parents and volunteers from two local parent support groups: Butterflies Haven and FACES.

We are always keen to involve more schools, practitioners and families in our research. See further information about our evaluation studies in our information flyer. Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions or if you are interested in taking part.

Team

Researchers

Training

Dr Aurora Constantin and Dr Liz Smith have attended training delivered by Carol Gray on Social Stories™ 10.2.

Contact us

If you would like further information about this project then please email us: e.smith2@bath.ac.uk

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