Autism Spectrum Partners has developed a new tool to monitor and understand behaviour that challenges people with autism and learning disabilities: the Overt Behaviour Scale for Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Conditions (OBS-LDASC).

The OBS-LDASC allows continuous monitoring of a number of behaviours that challenge. For example, different types of aggression, and pica, which is the eating of non-food items.

It also allows the user to record what happened before and after each behaviour. This information helps us to understand why these behaviours occur and in turn, aids the development of effective interventions to support service users and improve their well-being.

The development of this tool is part of a larger research project led by Autism Spectrum Partners. One aim of the project is to assess the technical properties of the tool (e.g. validity and reliability). The project also includes developing and evaluating training approaches to support staff’s understanding of behaviours that challenge, and their use of the tool.

This work has been presented at national conferences and updates of our work will be provided at the Faculty for Intellectual Disabilities Annual Conference, April 2015 and British Psychological Society Annual Conference, May 2015.

The next stages of the project will focus on developing strategies to maintain staff learning about behaviours that challenge and the continued effective use of the tool in our services. We also plan to explore the development of a self-report version of the OBS-LDASC aimed at increasing service user self-knowledge and promoting independence.

If you’d like to learn more about this exciting project please contact Debbie Coton (, Sara da Silva Ramos ( or Stacey Parker (