News about recent DAWBA developments

As described below, the DAWBA's age range has been expanded both upwards and downwards; the assessment has been broadened; the information collected now covers DSM-5 as well as DSM-IV and ICD-10; and there are options for automated feedback to respondents and session by session monitoring.

Early years DAWBA
The lower age limit for a DAWBA assessment is now 24 months rather than 5 years. The assessment is as similar as possible to the "standard" 5-17 year assessment in order to facilitate valid comparisons, but differs from the standard version has changed in several key respects:

The upper age limit has been increased from 17 to 65. The assessment is as similar as possible to the "standard" 5-17 version to facilitate valid comparisons, but has been changed in several key respects:


Improved coverage of behaviours sometimes linked to developmental or intellectual disabilities: The DAWBA is generally suitable for diagnostic assessments of children and adolescents with Intellectual disabilities (ID). The standard diagnostic modules are generally applicable for those with mild to moderate ID, as well as for many with severe ID. For example, the module on autism spectrum disorders is relevant across the ID spectrum. However, there are some behaviours that are relatively rare in the general population but much commoner among those with ID (with or without autism or other developmental disorders). This applies to stereotypic movement disorders - sometimes involving self-injury - and a range of specific problems. These are now covered by a new DAWBA module.

Automated feedback to respondents: Clinics and research studies can now opt for respondents to be asked, at the end of the online interview, whether they want immediate computerized feedback based on their answers - no respondent gets this feedback unless they have asked for it. The computerized feedback provides an easy to read summary of the findings from the SDQ and DAWBA assessments and helps people search for relevant books, websites, helplines and local services.

Feedback from youthinmind always talks about probabilities rather than certainties, for example saying that on the basis of the information provided, the individual is in the average, slightly raised, high or very high probability bands for a particular type of difficulty. If the computer banding seems out of keeping with the parents' own sense of whether their child has a problem, they are told that the fault may well lie with the computer rather than with their intuitions.

While some parents find the automated feedback and linked information sufficient for their needs, others want to turn to specialist advice. This is not discouraged in any way; indeed, the website's directory of services makes it easier to find an appropriate source of advice. There is no evidence this leads to inappropriate demands on services. When piloted with parents as part of a study funded by the Department of Health, the computerized feedback was generally perceived as helpful or neutral, but some respondents experienced it as impersonal or slightly upsetting.

After any assessment, individual feedback to respondents from skilled professionals is clearly desirable. However, there are two circumstances in which research and clinical teams commonly use automated feedback as well as, or instead of, individual feedback:

Session by session monitoring: The DAWBA now includes the option for SxS - a quick and universally relevant session-by-session monitoring system that draws on the success of the widely used and well-validated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). To read more about this, click on

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Last modified : 12/09/16