We are occasionally asked about the research behind the Neurodiversity app, which is surprisingly difficult to answer, for reasons that will become apparent. We are proud of the work that has gone into it and we would like to think it could not be better as a consequence of more than 10 years of development, research, and clinical practice. But by providing the following, we shall let you be the judge.
There are two parts to this app. Firstly, there is the wider cognitive level – that is how you respond in a series of different circumstances. These have been grouped into six main areas to help make reporting more understandable. These are:
• Cognitive and sensory skills
• Emotion and feelings
• Organising and time management
• Speaking and listening
• Literacy and Numeracy
• Motor skills
In addition, whilst we do not provide labels and recommend looking at specific strengths and weaknesses, we do acknowledge that some people like to know if they conform to some widely used categories of neurodiversity. For this reason, we provide feedback with respect to the following areas:
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD
• Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD
• Developmental Coordination Difficulties / Dyspraxia– DCD
• Developmental language Difficulties/Speech, communication, language challenges – DLD
But obviously, this is not a diagnosis, for which you need a specialist.
The validity component of the Neurodiversity app, app screening tool in relation to these five neurodiversities consists of two parts:
1) The definition
2) Data analysis
Quite simply, if there is an internationally agreed definition of a given disability, then the core to validity of the questions is the degree of agreement between the questions asked and the defining characteristics. To be more specific, if the definition of dyslexia includes “difficulty in the acquisition of reading”, then the questionnaire should have questions about reading and the closer the question is to the words in the definition, including characteristics such as those in DSM-V, then the higher the face validity.
Of course, it is never that simple. We are very aware that not everybody has a clear understanding of their own abilities (sometimes referred to as metacognition). For example, a dyslexic individual may consider their spelling skills are different to what a spelling test may show. Or a person with ASD may not be aware of their social skills. This is why we cannot use just one question, why we rank some questions as more indicative than others, and why this is referred to as a screening and not a diagnosis.
In addition, we also crunched numbers. So, as well as more than 8,000 individuals having passed through the clinics of the developers, creating a wealth of background understanding, we have also been collecting data from assessment tools in Profiler itself, comparing the results of Profiler to those of external diagnoses.