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Show and Tell

Show And Tell funded by Nesta

Circus Starr is a child-focused social enterprise. A touring circus with world-class performers and artists. Every year it partners with charities and local businesses to provides £1.3m worth of free seats for disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children every year whilst helping to raise much needed funds for local charities.

Project objective

Going to the circus can be a daunting experience for children with Autism, as it's a loud and unfamiliar environment. Therapy Box partnered with Circus Starr to create an app to help prepare children with autism for a trip to the circus, with features to assist in social storytelling after the trip. In order to provide a range of output options to users, the app needed to include video and audio recording and playback, be visually appealing to a range of users, contain default content provided by Circus starr and provide users with the option to edit it.

Project output

The Show & Tell app contains 3 fully customisable social stories to help discuss a circus trip before, during and after the event. Before and During stories are pre-built, with space to add or edit the default content (text, images, videos and audio from live performances), and can be used by parents to help prepare their child for the experience. During the circus trip, children are encouraged to take photos and videos, which they can add to the After story. This can be used by the child as a prompt to help describe the show to people who weren’t there.


Research suggests that we are on the right path and the app was awarded the 'Best New Technological Innovation' Award at the 2015 Autism Professional Awards. As one parent told us:

"Apps for autistic children are absolutely priceless. We've never been to a circus before and rarely go out as a family. The app was crucial - as he trusts what he sees in an app."