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Intellectual Disabilities

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PSYC 3850
Carol Anne Hendry

Intellectual Disabilities across the Lifespan Chapter 1: Understanding Intellectual Disabilities - In the history of treatment of persons with intellectual disabilities, advancements have mostly been made by family members urging government and society. - In tribes, people with intellectual disabilities were considered a burden, because of consumption of food and water without contribution. - Sterilization of persons with intellectual disabilities has been an issue for many years and remains an issue in some countries. - No single discipline has the breadth and depth of expertise and resources necessary to fully support people who have intellectual disabilities - Intellectual disabilities: encompasses a wide range of characteristics, it is both a label of fact and a label of conjecture - Fields in the involvement of intellectual disabilities: o Biological and medical sciences, behavioural sciences (predominately psychology but also anthropology and sociology), education, disciplinary collaboration o Disciplinary collaboration: to better support individuals with intellectual disabilities, professionals must coordinate efforts and involve the family. Inclusion: implementing the principle of inclusion for all children with disabilities involved placing a significant number of such children in general education classrooms. Serving children in an inclusive educational setting emphasized the need for collaboration among professionals - The concept of intellectual disabilities is made more complex because the varying professions that deal with it hold widely divergent viewpoints. - Definitions of intellectual disabilities have varied widely over the years between different disciplines - The AAMR (American Association on Mental Retardation) definition of mental disabilities states that: Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills . The disability originates before age 18. o Assumption 1: limitations in present functioning must be considered within the context of community environments typical of the individuals age group and culture o Assumption 2: Valid assessment considers cultural and linguistic diversity as well as differences in communication, sensory, motor, and behavioural factors o Assumption 3: within an individual, limitations often coexist with strengths o Assumption 4: An important purpose of describing limitations is to develop a profile of needed supports o Assumption 5: When appropriate personalized supports over a sustained period of the life functioning of the person with mental retardation generally will improve. - Measurement of adaptive behaviours: has always been a challenge, not achieving the desired precision despite significant and continuing research efforts - **See pg. 21; for AAMR Adaptive Behaviour Assumptions** - Incidence and prevalence are often confused in the field of intellectual disabilities; o Incidence: refers to the number of new cases identified during a given time period (often 1 year) o Prevalence: refers to all cases existing at a given time including both new cases and old cases. - The highest prevalence of intellectual disabilities in ages 6-19 across all levels of IQ - Multiple classifications are used in the 2002 AAMR definition document to address grouping individuals by service reimbursement or funding, research services, communication about selected characteristics - Cross-categorical definition and classification models have emerged because conventional categories are not always effective and functional. - Norm-referenced assessment: the measure of an individuals functioning in comparison with some standard or group norm; testing, IQ, etc; valuable for grouping individuals - Criterion- referenced assessment: focuses on specific skills and looks at absolute level of performance ; level of mastery an individual exhibits - Multidisciplinary model: various professions approach a particular condition from their own focus (e.g. psychological aspects of intellectual disabilities or medical aspects of intellectual disabilities) - Interdisciplinary model: attempts to develop knowledge bridges among professions o From these efforts, sub disciplinary areas such as social psychology, sociolinguistics, and neuropsychology have developed. - Transdisciplinary model: developed as an effort to overcome the problems of the other two models; emphasizes the role of a primary therapist, who acts as the contact person for the service provisions, so the number of professionals with direct child contact is minimal Chapter 2: Diversity Issues - Cultural diversity involves critically important differences that require attention as one examines intellectual disability both as a concept and in the context of individual assessment - Associated influences o Poverty; exists at a rather high level among many culturally different groups and creates a number of environmental disadvantages that may impair the childs mental development (health care, nutrition, etc.) o Cultural-social mores; social values that differ from culture to culture may result in behaviour or performance deviation from the cultural majority, which some might view as reflecting intellectual disability o Language; language differences that create academic difficulties for some culturally different children may place them in jeopardy of being considered as having intellectual disability. Minimizing assessment error and interpretation bias appears to be the most satisfactory approach to provide the most effective instruction possible for all children. - Personnel and procedures involved in the assessment and intervention process may all contribute to a biased overrepresentation of culturally different children as having intellectual disability o Cultural bias in an experiment leads to inaccurate results - A wide variety of factors as diverse as inherited genetic material and environmental influences, such as nutrition, disease and toxic substances affect the course of human development. - Professionals in the field of intellectual disability must change basic models of research on intellectual disability so that the influences of cultural diversity on human development can be more fully understood. Chapter 3: Assessment Issues and Procedures - Careful attention to the proper use of assessment instruments has a great impact on the results of measurement o Unfortunately, many instruments on the market do not give adequate attention to sound measurement practices. The great demand from the field appears to have resulted in inadequate instruments - The purpose of any assessment greatly influences the procedures employed and the way data are interpreted. Recognition of this has led to the articulation of such important concepts as norm and criterion referencing and formative and summative evaluation - Norm-referenced evaluation: early assessment developments focused on how an individual performed, compared with others, particularly in the area of intelligence; assessment in which the performance of an individual is compared with that of others. - Criterion referenced evaluation: nearly synonymous with what norm-referenced evaluation is not. It is not compared with a norm. It assesses specific skill areas, individually, rather than generating a score based on a composite of several skills o Best for direct linkage between assessment and classroom instruction - Curriculum-based assessment: uses the sequential objective of the students curriculum as the referent or criterion for evaluating progress. o The specific application of referencing evaluation for a particular purpose o The term objectives-referenced measurement is also sometimes used. - Because each method for assessment serves different purposes, both norm-related and criterion-related evaluation must be used. - Formative evaluation: a framework in which assessment that focuses not on a desired ultimate behaviour but rather on the next step in an instructional program. - Summative evaluation: involves assessment of terminal behaviours and evaluates the childs performance at the end of the given program - Threats to assessment bias; discriminatory testing, cultural differences. - EARLY LIFE o Assessment procedures are quite different, depending on the age of the person and the performance area being evaluated; identification of children who already show learning disabilities and who have probability of developing intellectual disabilities. o Screening assessment is very important throughout the lifespan, but is especially crucial in ear
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