Using Digital Stories for assessments and transition planning for autistic pre-school children (2021)

Authors: Henry Wood-Downie, Verity Ward, Kathryn Ivil, Hanna Kovshoff and Sarah Parsons
Published: 2021
Publication: Educational and Child Psychology

Aims: ‘I am…’ Digital Stories are short videos designed to provide a holistic, strengths-based representation of the child through enabling them to contribute their perspectives to transition planning. Digital Stories have potential during periods in which professionals are unable to physically visit settings or spend time getting to know a child. This paper describes the use of Digital Stories in two contexts: (1) being shown at the beginning of person-centred planning meetings focusing on the transition to primary school; and (2) as a tool to support educational psychologists conducting Education, Health, and Care Needs Assessments for preschool children during Covid-19. Method: Data was collected via seven semi-structured interviews, 15 feedback forms, and videos of four meetings. Participants comprised six parents/carers, five nursery practitioners, three school staff members, and six educational psychologists. Thematic analysis resulted in five main themes: thinking differently; a wider conversation; more than words; seeing what they see; and potential barriers to making Digital Stories. Limitations: Children were not able to make their own Digital Stories, which could have influenced their representation within the videos, transition meetings and assessments. However, children’s body worn camera footage was included, enabling a perspective on their interactions and preferences that was closer to the child’s worldview than other observational methods. Conclusions: Digital Stories have a variety of benefits to practice, including being useful to educational psychologists during assessments, and have the potential to facilitate successful transitions from nursery to primary school.

Wood-Downie, H., Ward, V., Ivil, K., Kovshoff, H. & Parsons, S. (2021) Using Digital Stories for assessments and transition planning for autistic pre-school children. Educational and Child Psychology, 38(3),

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