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Development and evaluation of a digistory about autistic spectrum disorder – a pilot study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anthony Codd, Dr Bryan BurfordORCiD, Neil Davidson, Professor Gill Vance



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Background: Digital storytelling (‘digistories’) offers a way of sharing the personal impact of a condition, if students have limited direct contact. Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) exemplifies a common condition, where there is need to improve practise in primary care. Hence, we chose this condition to develop and evaluate a digistory. We considered stigmatising attitudes to ASD and wider educational effects. Methods: In the digistory, a mother of a boy with severe ASD describes her autobiographical experiences, illustrated by customised cartoons. Participants completed, pre-post, a validated attitude questionnaire and word association exercise. Views on educational value were gathered through free text and focus group. Results: Questionnaire scores indicated positive attitudes, with no significant change. In contrast, content analysis of word association responses showed prevalent negative associations. Thematic analysis identified increased empathy of students with the family, enabled by the resource design. The digistory helped students challenge stereotypes associated with the condition and encouraged greater confidence to engage in future clinical encounters. Conclusion: The digistory is an accessible and authentic patient analogue that gives additional insight into living with autistic spectrum disorder, with potential benefits for patient-centred learning.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Codd A, Burford B, Petruso G, Davidson N, Vance G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Education for Primary Care

Year: 2018

Volume: 29

Issue: 4

Pages: 232-236

Print publication date: 01/07/2018

Online publication date: 28/05/2018

Acceptance date: 26/04/2018

Date deposited: 11/06/2018

ISSN (print): 1473-9879

ISSN (electronic): 1475-990X

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/14739879.2018.1470906


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