Repository logo

'Instruments are good at eliciting information; scores are very dangerous': The perspectives of clinical professionals regarding neurodevelopmental assessment.

Published version

Change log


Woolgar, Matt 
Weisblatt, Emma Jl 
Duschinsky, Robbie 


Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are common behaviourally diagnosed conditions. One of the key aspects of diagnosis is clinical judgement. Yet despite decades of research, it is only in recent times that researchers have started exploring clinicians' perspectives on diagnosing these conditions. We aimed to add to this body of knowledge by conducting interviews with 17 experienced health care professionals in the United Kingdom to hear their perspectives on diagnosing autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Clinicians reflected that for some children and young people, diagnosis is reasonably straightforward; however, in other situations, decisions are made on more pragmatic grounds (i.e. will this be helpful). We identified some differences of opinion between professionals and organisation which adds to the complexity of applying a diagnosis. We recommend several areas for future research and point to some practical and philosophical implications of the work.


Peer reviewed: True


attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, clinical reasoning, decision-making, diagnostic upgrading, qualitative, Child, Humans, Adolescent, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Autistic Disorder, Health Personnel, United Kingdom

Journal Title


Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



SAGE Publications
Wellcome Trust (218025/A/19/Z)