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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Children with Intellectual Disabilities (Chapter 6).docx

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Psychology 2043A/B
Esther Goldberg

Children with Intellectual Disabilities Associated Reading: Chapter 6 A History of Intelligence Testing  Developmental disabilities, according to the government, have a lot to do with intelligence  We have been testing intelligence for over 100 years Binet and Simon – The Binet-Simon Scale:  Alfred Binet was the man who created the first intelligence test – for this, he is known as the father of IQ testing  Binet, along with Simon (his colleague) were asked to create a method of identifying children at school  This was done because they wanted to figure out who was in need of special education  The Binet-Simon scale was introduced in 1905 – this was the first intelligence test to be used  The test was relatively short (i.e. it only contained 30 items)  Most of the items on this test were ‘life’ problems o They would ask children to do things such as listen to simple instructions, list basic parts of their body, count money, fill in missing words etc. o So, in other words, these were pretty basic tasks  These tasks were put in order of increasing difficulty, and each task was matched to a specific developmental level o In other words, all tasks were given to a certain age group of children were though to be solvable by a typical child in that age group  The results of this test gave us the concept of a mental age – whichever ‘level’ of the test you could pass was your equivalent mental age  Binet believed that as we get older, we can learn more difficult things  Therefore, this test could be arranged in a hierarchy and certain could be expected to fail at some point (either above or below their typical age group) Wilhelm Stern – The Mental Quotient (MQ):  Stern discovered that if we take one’s mental age and divide it by their chronological age, we will get a ratio  This ratio became known as the mental quotient o MQ = Mental Age / Chronological Age  If the mental quotient for an individual was higher than 1, they were completing items on the Binet-Simon scale that were expected of their age group, or even higher than expected  If the mental quotient for an individual was lower than 1, they were not able to complete items on the Binet- Simon scale that were expected for their age group Lewis Terman – The Intelligence Quotient (IQ):  Terman suggested taking one’s mental quotient (a fraction) a multiplying it by 100 in order to obtain a percentage (easier to work with) o IQ = (Mental Age / Chronological Age) x 100  This is how the idea of the modern IQ came about  Today, an average IQ falls around 100 – as long as your mental age and your chronological age are the same, your IQ will be 100  Everyone has their own concept of intelligence, as is apparent through their use of language in reflecting their beliefs  People tend to toss our words that make it seem as though they know what a person’s mental ability is (ex. smart, clever, dumb, slow etc.)  This speaks to the fact that there is no universally agreed-upon definition for intelligence  In 1921, an academic journal polled 14 psychologists and asked them to define intelligence  Not surprisingly, all 14 psychologists had different answers – they had some common threads, but were not identical  This study was replicated in 1986 and still there was no clear answer  Many people who are not well-informed of the aspects of human intelligence argue that “intelligence is what is measured by intelligence tests”  However, many professionals agree that intelligence includes cleverness, proper speech, interest in learning, social competence etc. Charles Spearman – The ‘G’ Factor:  Spearman used statistics to look at scores of intellectual measures  In general, children tend to do the same in most subjects in school (i.e. if they’re ‘smart’ in math, they tend to be ‘smart’ in most of their other subjects as well)  Their grades tend to be pretty consistent across the board  This illuminated the idea of general ability – children will, most likely, perform the same on different tests  The ‘g’ factor, coined by Spearman, refers to this idea of general ability  He thought of it as a kind of mental energy that people have  Despite the fact that some people may do especially well in one specific subject, generally, we perform approximately the same on everything  Most intelligence tests are based on this idea that one should perform equally well in all tasks  There are many different intelligence tests, each having its downfalls o Many people argue that what we measure in our intelligence tests only represent a small portion of intelligence o We’re not necessarily getting the whole picture  However, these tests continue to refine over the years to better suit our purposes  For instance, they have attempted to move away from ‘items’ or ‘subjects’ that are particularly culturally loaded  Also, we have moved into testing adults as well as children – this came out of testing applicants for the military Understanding Intelligence  In order to understand intelligence in the population as a whole, we need to have a basic understanding of the bell curve  The bell curve is a graph that represents a normal distribution  An example of this is the picture to the left – this represents a plot of the different heights of the kids in a gym class  The far left side of the graph represents the shortest kid in the class, while the far right side of the graph represents the tallest  However, most of the kids in the class are clustered in the center of the graph, meaning that the majority of them are of medium height  As more and more people are added to the class, this curve would even out more and more and start to look like a bell (hence the name bell curve)  In other words, the larger the sample, the more neatly the curve is going to fit into the shape of a bell o Example: if we plotted height for the entire population, the graph would be very smooth  This, as it turns out, is the trend for many things other than height (ex. weight, intelligence etc.)  Sometimes there are skews to the left or the right, taller peaks etc., but most values will fall into the middle of the curve, with fewer values falling to either side  As apparent in the graph above on the right, most of the values in a set of data are close to the average, and relatively few are at either end  Based on the graph of a normal distribution, we can make a number or conclusions  The dead middle of the bell curve is known as the mean (i.e. the average)  So, with reference to intelligence, the mean would be 100, as an IQ of 100 is the average  As we move outwards on the graph, fewer and fewer people will be ‘stacked up’ underneath this bell (with reference to the gym class example)  At equal distances away from the mean, there are ‘steps’ under which a specific number of values will fall – this ‘step’ is known as the standard deviation  When we know what the average is and the size of the standard deviation, we can figure out a lot of things  Based on the graph of a normal distribution, the following has been discovered: o 68-69% of people will fall one standard deviation away from the mean o 26-27% of people will fall between one and two standard deviations away from the mean o 4-5% of people will fall between two and three standard deviations away from the mean  This is known as the 68-95-99.5 rule  This means that less than a percent of people will be more than 3 steps away from the average  Intelligence happens to be one of the items that conforms to this normal bell-shaped curve and therefore, this rule  The average IQ is about 100, and he range of the average (from - 1s to 1s) is 85-115, meaning that the standard deviation is 15  In IQ testing, approximately 50% of the population falls in the range of 90-110 (i.e. + or - 10 IQ points from the average)  Very few people will have IQ’s at the top and bottom ends of the distribution o Only 2% of the population will be above IQ=130 (i.e. +2s) and only 2 % of the population will be below IQ=70 (i.e. -2s)  When we talk about exceptionalities, there should, in theory, be the same number of gifted people (at a high IQ) as there are those with mental retardation (at a low IQ) The AAMR – Now the AAIDD  The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) was founded in 1876  It is a multi-disciplinary association, meaning that it is comprised of a number of different types of professionals  Since it has been founded, it has gone through at least 10 different ‘official’ perceptions of mental retardation  Early on in the lifetime of the AAMR, concept of mental retardation were heavily tied to an inability to adapt to the environment socially  However, this perception did not suffice for long, and later on different aspects were added (i.e. medical factors, heredity etc.)  As intellectual testing became more and more prevalent, the AAMR relied on its importance more and more  However, in 2007, the AAMR changed its name to the AAIDD; the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities o This change was groundbreaking – the fact that they replaced the term ‘mental retardation’ with ‘intellectual and developmental disability’ reflected a change in their overall vision o The term means the same as mental retardation, and covers the same population (i.e. the same proportion of individuals), but they felt that referring to it as an intellectual and developmental disability was less offensive and was more in keeping with what was happening around the world o They suggested that intellectual disabilities can be changed with necessary provisions and supports – they these individuals are not ‘static’ or absolute in their diagnosis, but rather that they can make changes o This change of name, they hoped, would spark the beginning of a new perspective regarding the way people understand individuals with intellectual disabilities – by looking at the disability as the being separate from the individual o They felt that pursuing one’s disability separate from their identity was important  At this time, the association moved away from the IQ test and looked at other elements of life  This shifted their emphasis and how supports would be provided to those with intellectual disabilities  The AAIDD has set the tone as to what people look for diagnostically with regards to mental retardation  However, it is important to keep in mind that this name change was simply that – a terminological change, not a definitional one The AAIDD (AAMR) Definition:  “Mental retardation refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It is characterized by significantly sub-average intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: Communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work. Mental retardation manifests before age 18.”  This definition focuses on 3 specific aspects: 1) Sub-Average Intellectual Functioning:  This is considered to be any IQ below 70  However, sometimes scores of up to 75 are included in this definition because of the ‘margin of error’  This occurs because when measuring peoples’ intelligence we know that their performance can depend on certain external elements (such as emotion, stress etc.)  Only a few people have IQ scores on either end of the distribution, so generally, if you fall in the bottom 2 percentiles you would be considered significantly sub-average  However, this is not absolute 2) Limitations in 2 or More Adaptive Skill Areas:  Adaptive skills are a collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that people have learned so that they can function in their everyday lives  They are things that impact daily life and affect one’s ability to respond to their environment  The AAIDD definition of mental retardation includes a list of 10 sub-areas of adaptive skills – however, only 9 of these apply to children 1) Communication  This includes all receptive and communicative skill (i.e. the ability to look for information, printed language etc.) 2) Self-Care  Basic grooming needs, toilet needs etc. 3) Home Living  Ability to take care of tasks in one’s home environment  In some cases, school living is substituted 4) Social Skills  Ability to get along with others 5) Community Use  Knowing about the helpful people in the community, specific buildings, bus schedules etc. 6) Self-Direction  Ability to initiate tasks, stick with them, complete tasks etc. 7) Health and Safety  Ability to manage one’s health in a proper manner 8) Functioning Academics  Ability to do well in school (on one’s own) 9) Leisure  Ability to fill leisure time without needing the guidance of others 10) Work  These 10 sub-areas are often divided into the 3 areas of adaptive behaviour 1) Conceptual Skills 2) Social Skills 3) Practical Skills  As mentioned in the AAIDD definition, and individual has to be deficient in at least two of these areas in order to be considered mentally retarded  Like intelligence, we can measure adaptive behaviour with scales, and we can also apply certain cut-offs 3) Manifestation Before the Age of 18:  The onset of the disability must occur in the childhood years  Therefore, this exempts certain people from the diagnosis  And example of this may be an adult who sustains a head injury and loses functioning – because of the age of their onset, they are not considered to be mentally retarded  Similarly, when people reach the geriatric years and lose mental capacity, they are not considered to be mentally retarded either  This definition was introduced in 1992 with specific ramifications in mind  The AAMR (at the time this was released) wanted to be clear that mental retardation is not something that you ‘have’ or something that you ‘are’, and it is also not a medical or mental disorder  They wanted a mental disability to be defined as being a state of functioning – a fit between the abilities of the individual and the expectations of the environment  They also stress that professionals need to consider issues such as community environment, culture, recognizing linguistic diversity etc.  The AAIDD also stresses the recognition that along with limitations, these individuals have considerable strengths - therefore, if the right supports are put into place, they could potentially improve in functioning DSM-IV Diagnosis A) Significantly sub-average intellectual functioning: an IQ of approximately 70 or below on an individually administered IQ test. B) Concurrent deficits or impairments in present adaptive functioning in at least two of the following areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety. C) The onset is before age 18 years  The above represents the diagnostic criteria for mental retardation from the DSM-IV  NOTE: The term ‘concurrent’ refers to co-occurring deficits or impairments  In this case, the way mental retardation is defined in a larger system (i.e. the AAIDD) and the way psychologists apply the term (i.e. the DSM-IV) are the same  This is the only area of disability that has a multi-national administration setting the tone (the AAIDD)  They have taken responsibility for the definition of mental retardation and as a result, no one questions them Classification  Despite the fact that the criteria we are looking at is the same, they way in which we classify children differs between the DMS-IV and the AAIDD  These criteria for classification are solely looking at the severity of intellectual impairment DSM-IV:  This represents the psychology side  The DSM-IV classifies individuals with mental retardation into 4 areas of severity  In general, we are talking about individuals who’s IQ falls below 70 1) Mild o IQ = 50-55 to 70 o 85% (the majority) of individuals with mental retardation fall into this category o Individuals who are mildly mentally retarded live on their own (for the most part), however many of them require some kind of community or government support 2) Moderate o IQ = 35-40 to 50-55 o Approximately 10% of the population of individuals with mental retardation fall into this category o These individuals are likely to need some degree of supervision o Often as adults these individuals are able to partake in assisted living (i.e. a group home) 3) Severe o IQ = 20-25 to 35-40 o Approximately 3-4% of the population of individuals with mental retardation fall into this category o These individuals are definitely in need of assistance and often require long-term care 4) Profound o IQ = below 20-25 o Approximately 1-2% of the population of individuals with mental retardation fall into this category o These individuals often have other mental disorders as well 5) Unspecified
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