Autism assessments

Changes to how an Autism assessment is carried out

We have had to change the way we carry out diagnostic assessment for autism due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

This is because we cannot do an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) with a facemask or face shield on. There are too many things that will change a child’s behaviour, so the results will not be reliable.

We will instead be carrying out a Brief Observation of Symptoms of Autism (BOSA) assessment which has been adapted from the ADOS and another autism assessment called the Brief Observation of Social Communication Change (BOSCC) led by Catherine Lord who is also one of the designers of the ADOS.

The BOSA assessment

The BOSA assessment uses some of the ADOS materials with the permission of Western Psychological Publishing. The BOSA assessment includes:

  • It provides opportunities for a parent to engage in social interactions with their child through games and conversation, creating a context in which symptoms of autism can be observed
  • The parent delivers a set format of activities with their child which are observed by the clinician
  • In order to do this effectively the clinician will give parents clear instructions so that they can be well prepared for the assessment
  • If the parent is unsure during the assessment, the clinician is able to coach the parent
  • This observation could be from the next room with an observation window or in the room with observers wearing PPE and socially distanced
  • The observation lasts 12 to 14 minutes
  • The team involved in observing the BOSA are all ADOS trained and have experience in administration of the ADOS
  • So far BOSA has been well received by parents, carers and children

Like the ADOS, the BOSA is only part of multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment which also includes a detailed case history and wider assessment by the Community Paediatrician.

The BOSA is a welcome development for those involved in autism assessment because it means in the UK, and indeed internationally, multi-disciplinary assessment for autism can recommence whilst still adhering to national guidance for personal protective equipment and social distancing during Coronavirus.

If you would like to know how it is administered, please see the BOSA Instructional Videos>>

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