Innovative methods for remote assessment of neurobehavioral development

Gustafsson HC, Young AS, Stamos G, et al. Innovative methods for remote assessment of neurobehavioral development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Volume 52, December 2021, 101015

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, research institutions across the globe have modified their operations in ways that have limited or eliminated the amount of permissible in-person research interaction. In order to prevent the loss of important developmentally-timed data during the pandemic, researchers have quickly pivoted and developed innovative methods for remote assessment of research participants. In this manuscript, we describe methods developed for remote assessment of a parent child cohort with a focus on examining the perinatal environment, behavioral and biological indicators of child neurobehavioral development, parent-child interaction, as well as parent and child mental and physical health. We include recommendations relevant to adapting in-laboratory assessments for remote data collection and conclude with a description of the successful dissemination of the methods to eight research sites across the United States, each of whom are involved in Phase 1 of the HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) Study. These remote methods were born out of pandemic-related necessity; however, they have much wider applicability and may offer advantages over in-laboratory neurodevelopmental assessments.