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Social Stories in mainstream schools for children with autism spectrum disorder: a feasibility randomised controlled trial
  1. David Marshall1,
  2. Barry Wright1,
  3. Victoria Allgar2,
  4. Joy Adamson2,
  5. Christine Williams1,
  6. Hannah Ainsworth2,
  7. Liz Cook2,
  8. Danielle Varley1,
  9. Lisa Hackney1,
  10. Paul Dempster2,
  11. Shehzad Ali2,
  12. Dominic Trepel2,
  13. Danielle Collingridge Moore2,
  14. Elizabeth Littlewood2,
  15. Dean McMillan2
  1. 1Lime Trees CAMHS Research Team, York, UK
  2. 2Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Marshall; d.marshall{at}


Objectives To assess the feasibility of recruitment, retention, outcome measures and intervention training/delivery among teachers, parents and children. To calculate a sample size estimation for full trial.

Design A single-centre, unblinded, cluster feasibility randomised controlled trial examining Social Stories delivered within a school environment compared with an attentional control.

Setting 37 primary schools in York, UK.

Participants 50 participants were recruited and a cluster randomisation approach by school was examined. Participants were randomised into the treatment group (n=23) or a waiting list control group (n=27).

Outcome measures Acceptability and feasibility of the trial, intervention and of measurements required to assess outcomes in a definitive trial.

Results An assessment of the questionnaire completion rates indicated teachers would be most appropriate to complete the primary outcome measure. 2 outcome measures: the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)-2 and a goal-based measure showed both the highest levels of completion rates (above 80%) at the primary follow-up point (6 weeks postintervention) and captured relevant social and behaviour outcomes. Power calculations were based on these 2 outcome measures leading to a total proposed sample size of 180 participant groups.

Conclusions Results suggest that a future trial would be feasible to conduct and could inform the policy and practice of using Social Stories in mainstream schools.

Trial registration number ISRCTN96286707; Results.

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • feasibility randomised controlled trial
  • Social Stories
  • social competence
  • school based intervention

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