Empowering practitioners, strengthening communities

Our team and the local community co-created a culturally-sensitive, structured yet flexible solution to assessing child neurodevelopment in remote Australian communities, using primary care as the home point of coordination. This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health: Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Early Intervention: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Services and Models of Care Grant (H1617G038).

Tiered Child Assessment

Tier 1 cannot be skipped

Tier 2-4 can be done in any order

Tier 5 brings everyone together

Tier 6 specialists can become involved at anytime

Tier 1: Informed Consent

People have the right to understand what information practitioners are collecting and how that information will be used. This tier provides all necessary information about the assessment journey in a culturally sensitive, child-friendly way. Families can still receive an assessment and say no to assessment outcomes being used for research.

Tier 2: Developmental Interview

Diagnoses are dependent on information that is collected from a persons' background and development. For example, prenatal alcohol exposure is required for a diagnosis of FASD. This tier includes the essential background information that a doctor needs to diagnose a neurodevelopmental problem. Collecting this information before the child gets to the doctor will save time in the doctor's office. You can complete the form during or after your discussion with the family.

Tier 3: Developmental Screening

Neurodevelopmental assessments can take up to 2 days, and often involve multidisciplinary teams from urban specialist centres, with waitlists of up to 3 years. This tier allows you to quickly identify children with the most severe symptoms, starting these children on an early pathway of support. Our team uses the Rapid Neurodevelopmental Assessment (RNDA) to provide a quick overview of a child's abilities across 9 neurodevelopmental domains.

Tier 4: Collateral Information

To help understand a child within their environment, this tier collects information about a child's functioning at home and at school. Parent/carer and teacher questionnaires help us to understand the child's adaptive, attention, emotional, executive, and academic functioning. Anyone can administer these questionnaires and return them to the doctor, who will score and interpret them.

Tier 5: Summary and Feedback

The doctor will bring the information together and with the assistance of decision-support tools, the doctor will identify whether a diagnosis can be made within primary care, or whether more specialist assessment is required. The doctor will coordinate a case conference, where everyone involved in the child's care (parents, carers, teachers, caseworkers, youth workers, allied health practitioners) will co-develop a plan to best support the child, regardless of whether a diagnosis is present or absent. We don't need a diagnosis to start helping a child who is struggling, strategies for supporting the child based on the information already acquired will be provided.

Tier 6: Specialist Assessment

Sometimes it is unclear whether a diagnosis is needed. Sometimes the problem is too complex. Sometimes we just need more detailed information about the best way to help a child. In these instances, specialist allied health or medical practitioners will continue the assessment journey and report back to the doctor.

Tele-mentoring Support

Our project provides fully-funded tele-mentoring to support practitioners when assessing and managing child neurodevelopmental problems in the Mount Isa, Doomadgee, and Mornington Island region. Tele-mentoring is provided by a clinical psychologist, speech pathologist and/or paediatrician.
Complete the inquiry form below for additional information about tele-mentoring outside this region.

Inquiry form

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Acknowledgement of Country

Griffith University acknowledges the people who are the traditional custodians of the land, pays respect to the Elders, past and present, and extends that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Contact us

Project coordinator
  • Dr Wei Liu
  • (07) 5678 0367
  • wei.liu@griffith.edu.au