Social Media Use Training for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: A Pilot Study

Abirami Thirumanickam, Fiona Rillotta, Ruth Walker, Eleanor Watson, Susan Balandin, Parimala Raghavendra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with intellectual disability use social media; however, there are barriers preventing them from using and benefiting from social media to the same extent as others. Some barriers include lack of knowledge, limited skills and inaccessibility. This pilot study used a sequential mixed method design to explore the outcomes of a social media training program for adults with intellectual disability aimed at social media use and increased social networks of participants. Six participants (mean age 35.7 years) participated in training focused on cyber safety and support to use individualised social media use goals. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, Goal Attainment Scale, and Circles of Communication Partners tools were used to examine the outcomes of training and changes in the participants’ social networks. Semi-structured interviews with participants and one staff member provided insight into participants’ experiences and perceptions of training outcomes. Findings indicated that participants achieved some of their goals and communicated with more people online after training compared to before training. Preliminary outcomes suggest that social media use training may assist adults with intellectual disability to strengthen social connections, gain digital literacy skills, and increase self-confidence online. Further research is needed with a larger sample, including a control group.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Early online date16 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 May 2024


  • adults
  • Intellectual disability
  • social media
  • supported accommodation
  • training


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