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Title: Teachers' perceptions of the use and effectiveness of Social Stories™ in the development of social skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Saudi Arabia
Author: Alotaibi, Faihan Eqab
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 1758
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2017
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The aim of this study was to analyse the comments and judgments of special education teachers concerning the use and efficacy of Social Stories™ as a social skills intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in mainstream boys’ schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the study focused on the usefulness of Social Stories™ in improving three types of daily social interaction which children with ASD encounter in mainstream schools in Riyadh: greeting people, playing with friends, and talking with friends at snack time. The study was informed by Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978), and was founded on the hypothesis that Social Stories™ can serve as an intervention to improve the social capacity of children with ASD in a supportive school setting The study explored the perceptions of 15 special needs teachers’ using semi-structured interviews and focused on three case studies of children with ASD at two mainstream boys’ schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The interviews provided qualitative information about the use of Social Stories™ for children with ASD. The information gained was categorised into eight themes: the concept; source of Social Stories™; methods of display; use as a social intervention; benefits and drawbacks; barriers to use; cultural and contextual considerations; and factors contributing to best use. The case studies also tracked the children’s social skills over a period of 15-17 weeks and were used to evaluate the efficacy of Social Stories™ as a behavioural skills intervention. Overall, the findings from the interviews and the case studies found that Social Stories™ displayed some effectiveness in improving the social skills of children with ASD, whether the stories were used independently or combined with other methods. The evidence indicated that the teachers were clear about the purpose of Social Stories™ as well as possible benefits, drawbacks and barriers around their use in the classroom. They were aware of specific cultural considerations influencing the implementation and acquisition of the stories. They also recognised various approaches to incorporating Social Stories™ in their classrooms and considered the children’s specific educational needs and interests when using them. The findings of the study contributed to understanding of the use of Social Stories™ in the Middle East in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular. This study suggests a tentative framework for evaluating Social Stories™ to ensure their appropriateness for the culture and environment of Saudi Arabia, and provides a piloted mechanism to evaluate both the written and visual content of a given Social Story™ under that cultural lens. Suggestions based on the study are offered to both the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia and to teachers working with children with ASD (in Saudi Arabia and beyond) for the development of best practices in the use of Social Stories™ as a behavioural intervention. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available