In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Autism Spectrum Australia has stopped face-to-face diagnostic assessments for autism and switched to an online telehealth delivery model. This means that rather than visiting an assessment clinic, clients and their families stay home and a clinician conducts the assessment remotely using a digital device.
While telehealth is not new and is used widely in medical and allied health services, research on telehealth assessments for autism is limited. To date, there are no studies that explore clinicians’ perspectives of conducting diagnostic assessments via telehealth compared to face-to-face.
Is telehealth suitable for conducting autism assessments?
According to clinicians, how do telehealth assessments compare to face-to-face assessments?
Should Aspect continue to offer a telehealth assessment service after the COVID-19 pandemic?
Interviews with Aspect clinicians will investigate:
- Which parts of the assessment process work well using telehealth
- Whether there are challenges or advantages in conducting assessments via telehealth
- Whether there are differences in satisfaction ratings when conducting face-to-face vs telehealth assessments
- Whether there are differences in client rapport and communication when conducting face-to-face vs telehealth assessments
- Whether there are any technical difficulties.
Interviews with adult children and parents of autistic children will investigate:
- Satisfaction with the assessment process and comprehensiveness of assessment
- Whether there are any technical or videoconferencing difficulties.
What we learnt
An evaluation of tele-assessments 2020 report
Making a difference
The findings from this project will provide information about the suitability of telehealth assessments from the perspective of Aspect clinicians, autistic adults and parents of autistic children. This information will guide decision making about the future of Aspect telehealth services after the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings will also provide clinician perspectives of conducting diagnostic assessments via telehealth compared to face-to-face, which have not been captured through previous research.
Dr Ru Ying Cai, Postdoctoral researcher, ARCAP
Vicki Gibbs, Manager Research & Assessments, ARCAP