Technology-use in neurodevelopmental disorders

We are a group of researchers from the University of Surrey exploring patterns of technology use in atypically developing populations. This research is funded by the Bailey Thomas Charitable Fund, and Williams Syndrome Foundation UK.

Start date

2021

End date

Ongoing

Overview

Technology has become a huge part of day to day life and there aren’t many tasks where technology couldn’t be used in some way or another, whether it’s for education, work or general daily life, it is undeniably a large part of our society.

Our team are exploring the patterns of technology use in neurodevelopmental disorder groups (Down syndrome* and Williams Syndrome). Our research will explore how best to support these groups through technology-based interventions. We know from previous training studies in typically developing populations that technology-based interventions have achieved gains in many cognitive domains namely spatial, maths and memory skills. Yet there is limited research focusing on the use of technology by people with neurodevelopmental disorders.

*Our Tech-use in Down Syndrome study is now complete, read a summary of our main findings (PDF).

Team

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Megan Davies

Research Assistant

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Esther Eun Seul Sung

Psychology MSc student

Outputs

Tech-use in Down syndrome

Read a summary of our main findings (PDF).

Tech-use in Williams Syndrome

What we are researching

We know that people with Williams syndrome require support with communication, social skills and everyday living. However, no known studies have investigated the influence of technology-use on these skills. This research aims to fill this gap in the literature and enhance our understanding of technology use and independent living in people with Williams syndrome.

Who is conducting the study?

This study is being carried out by researchers in the Cognition, Genes and Developmental Variability (CoGDev) Lab at the University of Surrey and is funded by the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and Williams Syndrome Foundation UK.

Take part in our study

Who can take part in our study?

Parents/caregivers of people with Williams syndrome aged between 5 and 60 years will be asked to participate in the research.  

What will taking part involve? 

For this study, parents/caregivers will be invited to complete an online survey containing 3 questionnaires about their son/daughter. This will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

The questionnaires will relate to:

  • Adaptive behaviours associated with daily living, communication, social skills and relationships
  • Technology, gaming and social media use
  • Behaviours associated with executive functions i.e. planning, attention and memory.

On completion of the survey participants will be awarded a £15 One4all voucher.

For more information, please watch our short video about taking part.

Take part in our study

Main research aim

Our main purpose is to explore the pattern of technology use in people with Williams syndrome and its associations with independent living skills with the hope of learning how better to support this group through technology-based interventions.

Overview of questionnaire 

Research questions:

  1. What are the patterns of technology-use in people with Williams syndrome?
  2. Is technology-use (including overall technology-use, gaming and social media use) a predictor of daily living skills in Williams syndrome after controlling for executive functions? 
  3. Is technology-use (including overall technology-use, gaming and social media use) a predictor of communication ability in Williams syndrome after controlling for executive functions? 

Is technology-use (including overall technology-use, gaming and social media use) a predictor of social and relationship skills in Williams syndrome after controlling for executive functions?

Research groups and centres

Our research is supported by research groups and centres of excellence.

Cognition, Genes and Developmental Variability Lab 

Research themes

Find out more about our research at Surrey: