Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC)

The ACSF - An  Introduction

This video is designed to answer basic questions about the ACSF, explaining aspects such as the tool's purpose, the five levels, and how a child/youth is scored.

The ACSF team is also eager to hear your thoughts on the video. After watching, please complete a short survey here: www.is.gd/acsfscvideosurvey

Please read before you download

Personal and Investigator-Initiated Research Uses:

We are pleased to be able to offer the ACSF User Guide and Tool at no cost for personal, non-commercial, and unfunded investigator-initiated studies.

To help us learn who is interested in using the ACSF, please contact direzzbm@mcmaster.ca.

Licensing and Commercial Research Uses:

​We are happy to facilitate licensing of the ACSF for commercial clinical trials, industry-sponsored research, or integration into electronic health records​

Contact us at direzzbm@mcmaster.ca so we can expedite this process on your behalf

CanChild researchers have developed a new tool to help identify ‘levels’ of social communication skills among children/youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF) is a five-level descriptive system based on the World Health Organization’s ideas about health in its International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF).  

The ACSF will not replace any diagnostic tools or assessments, and it is not a test or a checklist. The ACSF provides a standardized and simplified way for clinicians, therapists, teachers, and parents to talk about what a child/youth’s social communication abilities are – what they CAN DO rather than what they cannot do, in two situations:

  • When they are performing at their best (Capacity)
  • What they usually do (Typical Performance)

This information can then be communicated easily between parents and professionals (educators, clinicians) to help people understand and potentially improve a child’s social communication functioning in everyday life.

We are pleased to be able to offer the ACSF Tool and User Guide at no cost for personal, non-commercial, academic teaching, and unfunded investigator-initiated studies. Please select the download on the right-hand side of the page.

If you are looking to license the ACSF for commercial clinical trials, industry-sponsored research, or integration into electronic health records, please contact us at direzzbm@mcmaster.ca so that we can expedite this process on your behalf.​

FAQ

Q. What is the ACSF?

  • The ACSF is a five-level tool that classifies children/youth with ASD by their social communication abilities: level V (lowest ability) through level I (highest ability). It has been tested for its reliability and validity, and has been found to be reliable when used by parents and professionals for children/youth 2 to 16 years of age, and has been validated for children and youth 2 to19 years of age. Testing the psychometric properties of the ACSF is an ongoing process and the team plans to continue testing the ACSF for adolescents to adults in future research.

  • The ACSF distinguishes between two aspects of ability for each child/youth: (1) what their social communication looks like when they are functioning at their best (i.e., Capacity), and (2) what it looks like most consistently (i.e., Typical Performance).

Q. Who can use the ACSF?

  • All parents and professionals (i.e., clinicians and educators) who are familiar with the child/youth’s social communication abilities are able to use the ACSF.

Q. Do I need to observe the child/youth in order to complete the ACSF?

  • Parents who are familiar with the child/youth’s current social communication abilities, are able to make a classification without requiring a prolonged observation period.

  • Professionals (i.e., clinicians and/or educators) who know the child/youth well, and have been able to observe them and make a classification based on their most recent observations.

Q. How long does it take to learn the ACSF?

  • Parents and professionals can reliably use the ACSF in minutes after reading the User Guide and reviewing the distinctions between levels described within the Tool.

Q. How long does it take to classify a child/youth using the ACSF?

  • Parents, and those professionals who are familiar with the child/youth, may be able to complete the ASCF within a very few minutes.

Q. How can the ACSF information be used?

  • To describe a child/youth’s social communication abilities and to help with functional clinical or educational goals. It may also be used to promote dialogue between parents and professionals to help identify differences in, and influences on, ability based on environmental or contextual factors.
  • To group children/youth together by their social communication abilities for clinical purposes and potentially to examine which interventions work best with which groups of children/youth.
  • To select or group children/youth with similar abilities of social communication functioning for research purposes.

Q. How can I obtain a copy of the ACSF?

Personal and Investigator-Initiated Research Use:

  • We are pleased to be able to offer the ACSF User Guide and Tool at no cost for personal, non-commercial, and unfunded investigator-initiated studies.

  • To help us learn who is interested in using the ACSF, please contact direzzbm@mcmaster.ca

Licensing and Commercial Research Uses:

  • We are happy to facilitate licensing of the ACSF for commercial clinical trials, industry-sponsored research, or integration into electronic health records

  • Contact us at direzzbm@mcmaster.ca so we can expedite this process on your behalf