Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment

Exploring an Interprofessional Staff-Training Model: Application for Teachers and Therapists Working with Children Diagnosed with Autism 
Pages 3-16
Lina Slim and Genevieve Pinto Zipp

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/2292-2598.2016.04.01.1

Published: 14 March 2016


Abstract: Increased prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has generated higher special needs enrollment in schools requiring teachers and therapists to acquire, incorporate and implement specialized strategies needed to address unique educational and behavioral challenges facing children diagnosed with ASD. Budget cuts have generated a shortage of qualified professionals with expertise in autism interventions. Currently, staff training is minimal, ineffective or lacking on how to do acquire these skills. More effective staff training may provide an avenue for addressing this shortage. This study investigates the impact that an Interprofessional Staff Training Procedure (STP), consisting of Video SelfMonitoring (VSM), Performance Feedback (PF) and Reflection (R) with and without Mentoring has on sustained and generalized teacher performance on two Dependent Variables – application of the Learn Unit (LU) and Rate of Effective Instruction (ROI). An exploratory study was conducted with 10 female teachers instructing 35 year old autistic children in two private schools utilizing principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Teacher performance on LU and ROI was evaluated after: Phase 1 – 2hour workshop; Phase 2 – training period using STP with and without Mentoring and Phase 3 – followup period when STP and Mentoring are removed. While the STP appeared to enhance teacher performance and sustainability of procedural integrity, the greatest and most consistent improvement in performance was observed among teachers who received STP plus Mentoring as opposed to STP alone. Findings revealed that adding Mentoring to an existing STP appears to enhance teacher performance and Procedural Integrity with sustainable outcome.

Keywords: Training, mentoring, Autism Spectrum Disorders, teacher training, video selfmonitoring.
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Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment

Inter-Professional Collaborative Care: A Way to Enhance Services for Adults with Intellectual Disability and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Problems 
Pages 17-2488x31
Jane Summers, Christina Bartha, Pushpal Desarkar, Lisa Duggan, Julia Fineczko, Lew Golding, Ali Shahrami and Christopher Uranis

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/2292-2598.2016.04.01.2

Published: 14 March 2016 

Abstract: This article describes our inter-professional mental health service for adults with intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder. The service consists of an inpatient unit and outpatient program that are closely aligned and operate within a mental health and addictions teaching hospital. We provide information about recent changes to our model of care and the structures and activities that are used to support inter-professional team development and team functioning. Roles and functions of different mental health professionals on the team are outlined and case examples of adults with intellectual disability and complex mental health needs are provided to illustrate how the inter-professional team members work together.

Keywords: Inter-professional mental health team, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, collaborative care, inpatient and outpatient services.
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Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment

The Learning of Conceptual Categories for Students with Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder
Pages 117-12888x31
Manuel Ojea Rúa

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/2292-2598.2016.04.02.6

Published: 15 August 2016


Abstract: This article presents a study where the overall objective is to measure any changes found as a result of the application of a program to facilitate the development of the semantic memory of people with Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder, following the implementation of a specific program to facilitate the creation of conceptual categories.

The study, based on a quasi-experimental design, analyzes the effectiveness of the program designed around four cognitive variables, comparatively observed in three groups of participants (N:19), distributed across one experimental group (N:7) and two control groups (made up of 7 and 5 participants respectively), conducted over three successive measures, 1 pre-test and 2 post-test measures at 6-month intervals. The results, found by repeatedly testing measures of intra-subject effects, show the effectiveness of the designed program, as it has aided in the development of meaningful learning for the members of the experimental group.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, semantic memory, concepts, categories.

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Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment

The Effects of Virtual Reality on the Upper Extremity Skills of Girls with Rett Syndrome: A Single Case Study
Pages 152-159
Kourtney Mraz, Grace Eisenberg, Pamela Diener, Gina Amadio, Matthew H. Foreman and Jack R. Engsberg

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/2292-2598.2016.04.03.2

Published:19 October 2016


Abstract: Introduction: Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a genetic disorder primarily seen in females that inhibits the use of a girl’s hands in everyday activities. A girl with RTT spends the majority of her day engaged in stereotypical hand wringing/mouthing movements at midline of the body. The probable cause behind the neurological effects of RTT is a mutation in the gene that encodes for methyl-CpG protein 2 (MeCP2). The hand wringing/mouthing behaviors preclude a girl with RTT from using the upper extremities in purposeful tasks such as school work, play skills, and other activities of daily living.

Objectives: To develop a virtual reality (VR)-based therapeutic intervention that 1) decreases upper extremity stereotypies (repetitive movements that serve no function) that interfere with purposeful arm and hand use and 2) promotes purposeful, goal-directed arm function; improve upper extremity motor skills in girls with RTT.

Materials and Methods: Using FAAST Software and Microsoft Kinect sensor, one girl with RTT participated in a 12-week IVR intervention (1 hour/session, 3 sessions/week, 36 total hours). Pre- and post-assessments were administered to examine any changes in upper extremity function.

Results: The VR intervention led to improvements in use of the upper extremities to complete self-care activities, an increased number of reaches completed in a 15-minute period, and decreased time engaged in stereotypical hand movements.

Conclusion: Future work will add additional support to determine the effectiveness of virtual reality as an intervention for girls with RTT.

Keywords: Rett Syndrome, internet-based virtual reality, Microsoft Kinect, upper extremity movements, upper extremity stereotypies.
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Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment

Utility and Validity of Authentic Assessments and Conventional Tests for International Early Childhood Intervention Purposes: Evidence from U.S. National Social Validity Research 
Pages 164-176
Deborah D. Lee, Stephen J. Bagnato and Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/2292-2598.2015.03.04.2

Published: 07 January 2016 

Abstract: The reported U.S. incidence of delay/disability in young children, and thus need for services, is far higher than those currently receiving early intervention supports and services [1]. Government representatives and policymakers in the U.S. have concluded that traditional tests fail to capture sufficient numbers of young children who must access early intervention supports at a critical life moment [2], even though state regulations often mandate their use. The early intervention field regards authentic assessments as a more effective alternative. However, few U.S. studies have been conducted to compare and validate the use of either conventional tests or authentic assessments for early intervention purposes. National social validity research in the United States by Bagnato et al. [3,4] revealed that authentic assessments fulfill the qualities/needs of the early childhood intervention field better than conventional tests. However, no national studies had been conducted to examine the qualities and patterns of use for authentic and conventional measures among interdisciplinary professionals. Based on an expanded national internet survey in the current follow-up research, we compared the qualities/patterns of use among professionals for both types of measures in the early childhood intervention field. Overall, median ratings indicate that the top authentic assessments are more valid/useful than the most popular conventional tests to accomplish most early intervention purposes. Based on the results, we share the implications as “practice-based research evidence” to guide international policymakers, professionals, and parents to advocate, choose, and use “best measures for best practices.” 

Keywords: Authentic assessment, early care and education, early childhood intervention, developmentally-appropriate, assessment for developmental disabilities, early childhood special education.
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