Assessing the Wellbeing of Individuals With Autism Using the interRAI Child and Youth Mental Health (ChYMH) and the interRAI Child and Youth Mental Health – Developmental Disabilities (ChYMH-DD) Tools

Brianne K. Redquest, PhD; Shannon L. Stewart, PhD, C. Psych; Pamela J. Bryden, PhD; Paula C. Fletcher, PhD


Pediatr Nurs. 2020;46(2):83-91. 

In This Article


The current study describes a wide range of concerns affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals with autism with and without ID. The high number of children and youth triggering one CAP (e.g., injurious behaviors) suggests they are at risk for other issues (e.g., communication difficulties).

The areas highlighted in this article, such as social challenges, sleep issues, and injurious behaviors, must be carefully monitored among individuals with autism, by caregivers, and by health care professionals. Caregivers of children and youth with autism must be educated on the common concerns these individuals are at risk for developing. This will allow for early identification of such issues, therefore reducing their effects, or better yet, preventing them. Further research must investigate appropriate measures to prevent individuals with autism from developing co-occurring conditions, and in turn, enhance wellbeing.

The interRAI Child and Youth instruments provide a process of identifying risk and need based on a case finding methodology that triggers evidence-informed care planning guidelines to support clinical decision-making and intervention (Stewart & Hirdes, 2015). Given the complexities and differential needs of specific children and youth with autism, this integrated assessment-to-intervention approach assists with early identification, facilitates appropriate prioritization and triaging (Stewart, Hirdes, McKnight et al., 2017), and also provides algorithms to identify differential resource allocation and service intensity (Billawalla et al., 2018; Lapshina & Stewart, 2018; Stewart, Hassini, Poss, & Hirdes, 2017; Stewart, Thornley, Poss, & Hirdes, 2019) based within a needs-based framework.