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Title: Social stories for children with autism : are they effective in changing behaviour and/or reducing anxiety?
Author: Penton, Wendy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 0510
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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Social stories are short, personalised stories to help individuals with autism to understand a variety of social situations (Gray and White 2002) which have become increasingly popular as an intervention amongst Educational Psychologists (Ali and Frederickson 2006); however existing research into their effectiveness widely lacks rigour and focuses on behavioural change despite anxiety levels being high amongst this population (Gillott, Furniss and Walter 2001). Robust research is required into the effectiveness of social stories in changing behaviour and reducing anxiety. The research questions posed were: Are social stories effective in promoting more positive behaviour and/or reducing the anxiety of children with autism? Do these changes, if observed, endure over time? What factors appear to be relevant to their success? Eight children with autism were studied over 11 months using a single case study design. Data were collected in four phases: baseline, one-to-one attention (where a fictitious story was read), intervention and post-intervention. Observational behavioural data were gathered across phases. Participants and parents provided anxiety ratings. Teaching Assistants were interviewed preand post-intervention. Data were displayed and analysed graphically and statistically using the Percentage of All Non overlapping Data (PAND) technique. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. 15 Three participants' target behaviour improved and this was maintained 4 months post-intervention for 2 participants. Two participants' levels of anxiety reduced and this was maintained 4 months post intervention for one participant. Social stories can change target behaviour and/or reduce anxiety for some children with autism, and this can be maintained over time. Thematic analysis indicated that factors relating to the child, the support provided and the organisation of the intervention were associated with positive outcomes. Since in this study participants' outcomes were variable it is recommended that, in order to promote successful outcomes, EPs should consider the profile and circumstances of each child.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available