Autism is a complex condition, whether viewed from etiology, comorbidities, functioning, or interventions. There are numerous approaches for measuring complexity in children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental or medical diagnoses. Interventions, however, create the need for broader and deeper assessment—including the environments in which the young person lives. The Center for Discovery, New York state’s Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities, (TCFD) implemented an Assessment, Support, Education and Training (ASSET) grant from the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. This paper will describe the Assessment activity. A major goal was to develop a tool for assessing the characteristics of the young person and pivotal environments. The objective was to promote the delay of or prevent movement to a more restrictive placement including residential placement. The pilot tool was developed over nine months and includes six areas for evaluation—medical/ impairments (8 items), functional profile (11 items), educational profile (5 items), home/family environment (9 items), school environment (6 items), and community environment (4 items). Implementation of CfD’s Inventory of Neuro-educational Complexity (INC) was able to distinguish among 30 pilot subjects those likely to use family and school interventions to maintain family living from those most likely needing at least short term residential placement. The INC is of substantial heuristic value in this time of great interest in effective and resource focused interventions with this population.
Theresa Hamlin, Jenny Foster, Johanna Lantz, Matthew Northrup, Tanya Villavicencio, Rune Simeonson and Donald Lollar