My life. My story.

The youth digital storytelling project

Click on the report for more details about the project.


The purpose of My Life. My Story: The Youth Digital Storytelling Project was to create, implement, and assess a peer-based digital story pilot intervention for youth with developmental disabilities to support their growth through improved skills and competencies in literacy, multimedia, communication, and leadership. Over 11 months, we developed a novel online peer-based model focused on accessibility; we also assessed and identified best practices to increase the transferability of our findings. In doing so, the project increases the potential to improve education competencies for youth with developmental disabilities beyond this pilot study.

Below are the findings, best practices, and associated recommendations. Please read the attached report for more details about the project.

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  • 80% identified an increase in multimedia skills by one level.
  • 90% identified an increase in communication skills by one level.
  • 100% identified an increase in leadership skills by one level.
  • 80% identified an increase in planning/organization; 70% in building self-confidence, and 60% in group facilitation.


  • 90% identified an increase in multimedia skills by one level.
  • 87% identified an increase in communication skills by one level.
  • 87% identified an increase in literacy skills by one level.
  • 83% identified they would be able to use what they learned in the workshop in other areas of their life.

Workshop Delivery

The workshop format centers disabled perspectives and experiences in story and encourages disability pride. Crip time also plays a central role in accessibility within the context of both the delivery and format. The workshop delivery fosters crip connection, community, and solidarity amongst facilitators, peer-facilitators, and participants.

Life Stage Transitions

Since attending the workshop:

  • 86% of participants spoke with someone (family, service provider) about creating a transition plan.
  • 89% of participants are more comfortable talking about what they want.
  • 79% of participants have identified short-term goals for their future.
  • 79% of participants have identified long-term goals for their future.

Best practices of online workshop delivery


  • Work with groups to ensure the format meets the needs of
  • Extend the length of the workshops with shorter session times to accommodate for online fatigue.
  • Use icebreakers at the beginning and end of each workshop to support rapport-building and connection in an online space.
  • Keep facilitator and participant ratios 1:1 with an aim of 4-6 participants per workshop.

Adapt the story process

  • Use breakout rooms to support crafting stories.
  • Combine the use of both small and large groups formats.
  • Revise story elements by removing and addressing ableist constructs
  • Use interview style formats in development
  • Use more visual imagery, and less text, in tutorials.

Shift to digital platforms

  • Ensure video editing platforms are accessible across both Windows and Mac.
  • Ensure proper supports are in place to assist with unanticipated technology issues.
  • Enable live transcript feature in Zoom.
  • Build in time for reviewing Zoom etiquette.
  • Model and review options to share in different ways (e.g., verbal, chatbox, emoji reactions) to help adapt workshops to the online space.
  • Breakout rooms where one-to-one support is offered is critical to support timelines.
  1. Cripping digital storytelling is the primary way to develop accessible designs that support first-person accounts of disabled people.
  2. The peer-based digital storytelling model offers a long-term sustainable format that supports training and employment opportunities for facilitation, skill development, decision-making, and connections.
  3. Ongoing opportunities to share and discuss digital stories from the perspective of disabled people are needed to shift attitudes and change systems.