Welcome to the autism transitions project. This project is a collaboration between The University of Southampton and Aviary Nursery, Eastleigh.

Together, we are finding out more about the experiences of transition of autistic children from preschool to primary school.

Professor Sarah Parsons gives a brief introduction to the Digital Stories

About the project

Young autistic children are amongst the most scrutinised and assessed in their everyday lives, often leading to characterisations and descriptions that focus on their difficulties (commonly termed ‘deficits’) and challenges rather than on their abilities, strengths and positive experiences.

This project is about changing the way we think and talk about autistic children in order to develop a more holistic understanding of who they are as a person. We do this through the creation of Digital Stories with children, families and staff members.

Digital Stories are short videos that focus on the child’s perspective. The stories show the child doing the things they like doing, and how they interact and communicate with others. Children’s voices and views are, therefore, at the centre of the research.

The idea for the Stories came about because we wanted to find a way for all children to contribute their views, experiences and perspectives to educational decision-making. We drew upon our previous work funded by the ESRC that provided insights into the experiences, contexts, and culture of learning experiences for children with autism.

The project is a collaboration between members of the Autism Community Research Network @ Southampton (ACoRNS), including Professor Sarah Parsons and Dr Hanna Kovshoff at the University of Southampton, and Kathryn Ivil and team from the Aviary Nursery in Eastleigh.

We are supported by funding from the Froebel Trust and the University’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

For further information please download our project overview


ACoRNS is an education focused research-practice partnership between the University of Southampton [Education & Psychology] and nurseries, schools, and colleges across the ages and stages of compulsory education.

More information about the range of projects we are working on is available here.