Addressing Inequities in Autism Assessment Across Bradford & Airedale

To date the team has done 3 distinct pieces of research. 

The first found that the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP), which is an assessment carried out by teachers at the end of reception year and scores children on 17 domains of development can be a predictor of those at a higher risk of Autism Spectrum Conditions.  We found that children with a low EYFSP sub-score were approximately 50 times more likely to have a diagnosis of autism compared to children without a low score (Wright et al., 2019).

The second piece of research lead by Dr Brian Kelly involved the finding that children from South Asian families, who make up 45% of the Bradford population, were statistically significantly less likely to have been given a diagnosis on the autism spectrum at equivalent points in their primary school life.  Rates would be expected to be similar.  There was also a trend showing that families with low educational levels were less likely to have received a diagnosis.  This research shows some clear inequities across groups in society (Kelly et al 2019).

The team comprises Professor Barry Wright, Professor Mark Mon-Williams, Poppy Konstantopoulou, Kuldeep Sohal, Cathy Hulin, David Sims, Brian Kelly, Sara Mansoor, Geoff Morgan and others. They recently carried out a feasibility and pilot study of a new assessment process that takes place in school over one day with a multi-disciplinary team. The parent comes into school and meets a clinician to give a developmental history using an interview guide (Autism Diagnostic Interview Schedule).  The child engages in a play-based assessment (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule).  The team also observes the child in school settings and spends time discussing the child’s progress and any symptomology with the teacher.   There is then a consensus meeting and a report is written up and discussed with the parent (if available) on the same day.  This study has recently finished recruiting and is being written up.