Developing social-ABI-lity: an online course to support safe use of social media for connection after brain injury


  • Melissa Brunner University of Sydney
  • Rachael Rietdijk University of Sydney
  • Petra Avramovich University of Sydney
  • Melissa Miao University of Technology Sydney
  • Emma Power University of Technology Sydney
  • Nick Rushworth Brain Injury Australia
  • Liza MacLean icare
  • Leanne Togher University of Sydney


Background: In 2020 and 2021, people increasingly used the Internet and social media for work, education, and to connect socially. However, people with brain injury experience challenges in using social media and rehabilitation professionals describe being inadequately prepared to support them in its use. 

Aims: To co-design an evidence-based resource to support safe and enjoyable use of social media after an acquired brain injury (ABI).

Methods: social-ABI-lity, an online self-guided course, was developed for people with brain injury to learn skills in using social media safely and meaningfully. Development incorporated (a) a scoping review to identify key features and effective teaching approaches from existing social media skills training programs, (b) co-designing course content with people with lived experience of ABI and other key stakeholders, and (c) a pilot study with five participants who have an ABI. 

Results: Key recommendations for course design were identified in the scoping review, with training to be interactive and include practical components addressing online safety and wellbeing, and how to use platforms to connect with others. Development of the course followed codesign participants’ guidance and incorporated the scoping review recommendations, with pilot study participant data and feedback further informing subsequent course refinement.

Conclusions: The social-ABI-lity self-directed course is the first of its kind to support people with brain injury in using social media after their injury. This resource, now freely available online, may also support rehabilitation clinicians in helping people with brain injury to build their social media mastery and participation in supportive online networks. 





Oral Presentations