A national harmonised data collection network for neurodevelopmental disorders: A transdiagnostic assessment protocol for neurodevelopment, mental health, functioning and well-being

Kelsie A. Boulton, David Coghill, Natalie Silove, Elizabeth Pellicano, Andrew J.O. Whitehouse, Mark A. Bellgrove, Nicole J. Rinehart, Suncica Lah, Marie Antoinette Redoblado Hodge, Nadia Badawi, Helen Somerset Heussler, Nicole Rogerson, Joshua Burns, Michelle A. Farrar, Ralph Nanan, Iona Novak, Micah B. Goldwater, Natalie Munro, Leanne Togher, Natasha NassarPhillipa Quinn, Christel M. Middeldorp, Adam J. Guastella

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Background Children with neurodevelopmental disorders share common phenotypes, support needs and comorbidities. Such overlap suggests the value of transdiagnostic assessment pathways that contribute to knowledge about research and clinical needs of these children and their families. Despite this, large transdiagnostic data collection networks for neurodevelopmental disorders are not well developed. This paper describes the development of a nationally supported transdiagnostic clinical and research assessment protocol across Australia. The vision is to establish a harmonised network for data collection and collaboration that promotes transdiagnostic clinical practice and research.
Methods Clinicians, researchers and community groups across Australia were consulted using surveys and national summits to identify assessment instruments and unmet needs. A national research committee was formed and, using a consensus approach, selected assessment instruments according to pre-determined criteria to form a harmonised transdiagnostic assessment protocol.
Results Identified assessment instruments were clustered into domains of transdiagnostic assessment needs, which included child functioning/quality of life, child mental health, caregiver mental health, and family background information. From this, the research committee identified a core set of nine measures and an extended set of 14 measures that capture these domains with potential for further modifications as recommended by clinicians, researchers and community members.
Conclusion The protocol proposed here was established through a strong partnership between clinicians, researchers and the community. It will enable (i) consensus driven transdiagnostic clinical assessments for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and (ii) research studies that will inform large transdiagnostic datasets across neurodevelopmental disorders and that can be used to inform research and policy beyond narrow diagnostic groups. The long-term vision is to use this framework to facilitate collaboration across clinics to enable large-scale data collection and research. Ultimately, the transdiagnostic assessment data can be used to inform practice and improve the lives of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12048
Number of pages16
JournalJCPP Advances
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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