An outcomes measurement tool to help assess the progress and change of people with autism while they are in care has been released.

The Spectrum Star allows professionals to assess how individuals with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) progress while in hospital, residential or supported living care. With the Spectrum Star service users can work alongside professionals to rate their abilities from 1 to 10 in 9 'Journey of Change' areas. These areas are:

  • Physical health
  • Living skills and self-care
  • Wellbeing and self-esteem
  • Sensory differences
  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Relationships
  • Socially responsible behaviour
  • Time and activities.

A keyworker then marks each rating point. After all 9 scales have been completed a line joins all the points, creating a star shape that changes as a person moves through the scales. The star can also be computer-generated. The tool was developed by outcomes-measurement experts Triangle Consulting in conjunction with Brookdale Care, a provider of hospital, residential and supported living for people with ASCs.

"Spectrum Star is the first outcome-measurement tool which can demonstrate how clients with an [ASC] are improving while receiving services," said Sue Hahn, deputy hospital manager at Milton Park Hospital, a specialist unit in Wyboston, Bedfordshire, for people with ASCs, managed by Brookdale Care.  "Until now professionals working in autism have had to use outcome measurement tools for people with mental health problems, e.g. HONuS. These are just not appropriate or specific enough for people with autistic spectrum conditions. "Spectrum Star feels real in the sense that it is person-centred, allows a shared and accessible language between clients and professionals, and can facilitate on-going discussions around how people are improving or not. "Importantly, the tool can also encourage people to have difficult-to-have conversations, such as addressing inappropriate behaviour."

Available from Triangle Consulting, Spectrum Star is free for all service providers on a creative commons license. For more information go to:http://www.triangleconsulting.co.uk/