The aim behind the SOFA app is to help people on the autism spectrum to understand what is socially acceptable behaviour and what is not through the use of stories that give examples of appropriate behaviour, also helping children with autism prepare for events/situations that are not the normal routine.
The App itself helps you to create social stories that can be used by children & individuals with autism.
The SOFA App comes with a range of written stories which you can use or adapt. But you can also write your own stories, which you can then save as private or share for others to use.
Social stories are short descriptions of a particular event, situation or activity. They provide information on what one should expect in this situation.
Social stories are particularly helpful for individuals with autism, because it provides a sequence of what is expected to happen and reduces anxiety and overstimulation of senses.
The SOFA App can be used by parents/guardians of children and adults with autism as well as professionals that work with autistic persons.
The app can be used to create social stories to better explain activities and situations in a sequential manner and helps the individual better react and adapt to the situation.
It also includes a walkthrough guiding anyone accessing it to develop appropriately structured social stories.
All people on the Autism Spectrum, especially children can therefore, benefit from this app which is available to download free of charge internationally.
The SOFA app was initially developed by a research team based within the Centre of Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath (UK), in collaboration with a number of local schools for autistic children and families from the autism community. The origins of the app emerged from a participatory design project, in which researchers co-developed the app with the autism community including autistic children, their families and their teachers. That project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2013-301).
The second phase of the project enabled the iPad app to be adapted to be downloadable and an android version made. It also enabled some outstanding issues to be tidied up as the app transitioned from being a research-based tool to a freely available tool for parents and practitioners. This was made possible through collaboration with Inspire Foundation and thanks to funding from Epic.