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Autism Spectrum Social Stories In Schools Trial (ASSSIST): study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial analysing clinical and cost-effectiveness of Social Stories in mainstream schools
  1. Barry Wright1,
  2. David Marshall1,
  3. Danielle Collingridge Moore2,
  4. Hannah Ainsworth3,
  5. Lisa Hackney1,
  6. Joy Adamson3,
  7. Shehzad Ali2,
  8. Victoria Allgar2,
  9. Liz Cook3,
  10. Lisa Dyson3,
  11. Elizabeth Littlewood2,
  12. Rebecca Hargate1,
  13. Anne McLaren1,
  14. Dean McMillan2,
  15. Dominic Trépel2,
  16. Jo Whitehead1,
  17. Chris Williams1
  1. 1Research Team, Lime Trees CAMHS, York, UK
  2. 2Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  3. 3York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Marshall; d.marshall{at}


Introduction Current evidence suggests that Social Stories can be effective in tackling problem behaviours exhibited by children with autism spectrum disorder. Exploring the meaning of behaviour from a child's perspective allows stories to provide social information that is tailored to their needs. Case reports in children with autism have suggested that these stories can lead to a number of benefits including improvements in social interactions and choice making in educational settings.

Methods and analysis The feasibility of clinical and cost-effectiveness of a Social Stories toolkit will be assessed using a randomised control framework. Participants (n=50) will be randomised to either the Social Stories intervention or a comparator group where they will be read standard stories for an equivalent amount of time. Statistics will be calculated for recruitment rates, follow-up rates and attrition. Economic analysis will determine appropriate measures of generic health and resource use categories for cost-effectiveness analysis. Qualitative analysis will ascertain information on perceptions about the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention.

Ethics and dissemination National Health Service Ethics Approval (NHS; ref 11/YH/0340) for the trial protocol has been obtained along with NHS Research and Development permission from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. All adverse events will be closely monitored, documented and reported to the study Data Monitoring Ethics Committee. At least one article in a peer reviewed journal will be published and research findings presented at relevant conferences.

Trial registration number ISRCTN96286707.

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