Supporting autistic communities through parent-led and child/young person-led digital social story Interventions: an exploratory study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Social Stories (SS) is a socially-valid intervention for autistic children and young people (CYP) which is used widely by professionals and parents. Research suggests that whilst parents are in an ideal position to deliver interventions for their autistic CYP, a lack of procedural integrity can result in a great deal of variability in parent-mediated intervention outcomes.

Methods: This exploratory study investigated the extent to which SS can be effectively developed and delivered, through digital mediation, by parents with little to no researcher input (n = 17, sample 1) and the factors that impact effectiveness. Furthermore, the study also investigated the extent to which digitally-mediated SS can support autistic CYP to develop and deliver their own stories, thereby utilising the intervention as a means for self-support and self-management (n = 5, sample 2).

Results: The outcomes of the study indicate that digital mediation can effectively support parent-led SS intervention. Findings also indicate that receptive/expressive language skills of autistic CYP, their level of systemizing, as well as the practice of consulting with the autistic CYP whilst identifying goals and developing stories, are individual and procedural characteristics which positively influence the effectiveness of the parent-led intervention. The study also found that digitally-mediated SS can be utilised as a self-support tool by autistic CYP themselves.

Discussion: The results inform the developing literature on digital interventions and support tools that aim to engage with, and involve further, the autistic community in the setting and authoring of interventions and research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1355795
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Digital Health
Early online date13 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2024

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.


  • autism
  • children and young people (CYP)
  • digital intervention
  • digital mediation
  • parents
  • social stories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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