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University of Bath

Download and get started with the Stories Online For Autism (SOFA) app

Stories Online For Autism (SOFA) is an app that's been co-developed with the autism community to support writing stories to help autistic children.

A series of screen captures of the Stories Online For Autism (SOFA) app displayed across four smartphones
You can download the Stories Online For Autism app on your smartphone.

Getting started

Download

The SOFA-app is free and can be downloaded from the Google App Store.

The SOFA-app has received a gold award for evidence-based practice.

As part of this research process, the SOFA-app collects data on how effective the stories are in helping autistic children achieve their goals. All data is securely stored in compliance with GDPR legislation.

Using the app

There are two modes you can operate, Adult and Child mode.

Adult mode

The adult mode is for writing the stories. You can adapt stories from a library or create your own. You can also add images from a library or add your own. You then set up a child prolife and assign the story to a child. If you have more than one child, each child has their own profile. The adult is asked to rate how close the child is to achieving the goal every time a story is accessed.

Child mode

The child mode is for reading the stories. The child can only access stories that have been assigned to them by the adult. The stories can be read by the child, by the adult, or by the app. The child is asked to rate how much they enjoyed the story every time the story is accessed.

Writing stories

You can also download a guide for writing stories.

Library of stories

The SOFA-app comes with a range of pre-written stories that you can use or adapt. You can also write your own stories. When you do this, you will be asked if you want them to be private (just for you) or public (shared with others). Shared stories will appear here as they become available.

Evidence supporting the SOFA-app

There are four peer-reviewed journal articles that provide evidence for the SOFA-app. These articles show that autistic children achieve the goal that has been identified for the story. Undesirable behaviours are reduced and desirable behaviours are increased, in both frequency and intensity. In addition, the child’s anxiety is reduced and the child’s understanding of the situation is increased.

Articles

Designing computer-based rewards with and for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Intellectual Disability. This article describes how autistic children (with and without intellectual disability) helped inform the design of the SOFA-app.

A pilot Randomised Control Trial of digitally-mediated social stories for autistic children. This article evidences that the SOFA-app is effective when compared with a control group who were read a poem.

Piloting a new digitally-mediated social story intervention for autistic children led by teachers within naturalistic school settings. This article evidences that the SOFA-app is effective when used by classroom teachers in schools.

Digitally-mediated Social Stories support autistic children adapting to a change in a ‘real-world’ context. This article evidences that the SOFA-app is effective in supporting autistic children adapt to the change of a going away to a school camp.

Reviews of the SOFA-app

We will upload reviews of the app on this page as they become available.

Project supporters

This project was developed by the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) and was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The development of the app was supported by Inspire and Vodaphone Malta Foundation.