Prior’s Court Foundation has been heavily involved in a new piece of published research examining how a ‘Talking Wall’ can provide young people affected by severe autism with an effective method to communicate.

“The Development and Feasibility Study of a Multimodal ‘Talking Wall’ to Facilitate the Voice of Young People with Autism and Complex Needs: A Case Study in a Specialist Residential School” was published in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders in April.

Not only was the research conducted at Prior’s Court, it was carried out by one of our Autism Practitioners, and Masters student, Norah Richards, with support from Dr Laura Crane from the Centre for Research in Autism and Education, based at University College London (UCL).

The ‘Talking Wall’ was trialled over a six-month period with the aim to allow a group of our young people a way to record their experiences of activities – positive, negative or indifferent – and thus increase their independence by helping them to effectively communicate what their interests, wishes and feelings are.

Initial findings from the use of the ‘Talking Wall’ were positive, suggesting further development and evaluation are merited.

A summary of the research can be read here.

We launched a Research Programme at the end of 2019, with a Board in place to oversee the activities of the programme.

Opportunities are available to internal and external researchers.

Michelle Collard, Research Co-Ordinator and Project Lead for the Prior's Court Research Programme, said: “It is hugely exciting to see a piece of research which Prior’s Court has been involved in be published in a journal.

“Our ambition is for the findings of projects we work with research partners on will shape policy and sector development, as to improve outcomes for young people across the country who are affected by severe autism. The publication of Norah and Laura’s work is a positive step in this direction.

“Through the programme, our research partners will be able to work with Prior’s Court staff who have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the sector and with the young people we support. Furthermore, our ground-breaking Prior Insight digital operations system is perfectly positioned to support research projects. The system allows us to collect, analyse and interpret hundreds of thousands of pieces of data about our young people annually.”

The Research Programme has a newsletter which can be viewed via Or for more information about the programme, go to

To enquire about working with us on research projects, contact Michelle via 01635 247202 Ext: 353 or [email protected].