This study explored whether or not a population-based sample of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), with and without comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), experienced higher levels of psychological distress than their peers. A two-stage procedure was used to identify 244 children: 68 with DCD only, 54 with ADHD only, 31 with comorbid DCD and ADHD, and 91 randomly selected typically developing (TD) children. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured by child and parent report. Child sex and caregiver ethnicity differed across groups, with a higher ratio of boys to girls in the ADHD only group and a slightly higher proportion of non-Caucasian caregivers in the TD group. After controlling for age, sex, and caregiver ethnicity, there was significant variation across groups in both anxiety (by parent report, (3,235) = 8.9, < 0.001; by child report, (3,236) = 5.6, = 0.001) and depression (parent report, (3,236) = 23.7, < 0.001; child report, (3,238) = 9.9, < 0.001). In general, children in all three disorder groups had significantly higher levels of symptoms than TD children, but most pairwise differences among those three groups were not significant. The one exception was the higher level of depressive symptoms noted by parent report in the ADHD/DCD group. In conclusion, children identified on the basis of motor coordination problems through a population-based screen showed significantly more symptoms of depression and anxiety than typically developing children. Children who have both DCD and ADHD are particularly at heightened risk of psychological distress.
Multimorbidity may be related to the supposed early aging of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). This group may suffer more often from multimorbidity, because of ID-related physical health conditions, unhealthy lifestyle and metabolic effects of antipsychotic drug use. Multimorbidity has been defined as two or more chronic conditions. Data on chronic conditions have been collected through physical assessment, questionnaires, and medical files. Prevalence, associated factors and clusters of multimorbidity have been studied in 1047 older adults (≥50 years) with ID. Multimorbidity was prevalent in 79.8% and associated with age and severe/profound ID. Four or more conditions were prevalent in 46.8% and associated with age, severe/profound ID and Down syndrome. Factor analyses did not reveal a model for disease-clusters with good fit. Multimorbidity is highly prevalent in older adults with ID. Multimorbidity should receive more attention in research and clinical practice for targeted pro-active prevention and treatment.
The study of comorbid psychopathology among persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is picking up steam. The purpose of this paper was to review and describe important characteristics of existing studies. Among the current crop of papers, depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been frequently evaluated. Groups studied have most frequently been children. Persons with ASD and normal intelligence quotient (IQ) scores have been studied more often than individuals with ASD and intellectual disability. Additional characteristics are discussed, and the implications of these data for future developments in the field are reviewed.
Intensive behavioral intervention for young children diagnosed with autism can produce large gains in social, cognitive, and language development. Although several studies have identified behaviors that are possible indicators of best outcome, changes in performance are typically measured using norm-referenced standardized scores referencing overall functioning level rather than via repeated observational measures of autism-specific deficits (i.e., social behavior). In the current study, 83 children with autism (CWA), aged 1, 2 and 3 years, and 58 same-aged typically developing children (TDC) were directly observed in the areas of cognitive skills, joint attention (JA), play, and stereotypic behavior using a measure called the Early Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT; ). CWA were assessed at entry into an EIBI program and again after 1 year of treatment. Changes in performance were compared pre- and post-treatment as well as to the normative data by age. Results indicate significant gains on the ESAT across all age groups with the greatest gains seen in the children who entered treatment prior to their second birthday. Increases were seen on direct measures of JA, play, imitation and language while decreases were seen in stereotypy regardless of level of performance at entry into EIBI. The ESAT, a direct measurement tool, served as a sensitive tool to measure changes in autism symptomatology following EIBI treatment.
The WISC-IV was used to compare the intellectual profile of two groups of children, one with specific learning disorders (SLDs), the other with intellectual disabilities (ID), with a view to identifying which of the four main factor indexes and two additional indexes can distinguish between the groups. We collected information on WISC-IV scores for 267 children ( = 10.61 [SD = 2.51], range 6–16 years, females = 99) with a diagnosis of either SLD or ID. Children with SLD performed better than those with ID in all measures. Only the SLD children, not the ID children, revealed significant differences in the four main factor indexes, and their scores for the additional General Ability Index (GAI) were higher than for the Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI). Children with a diagnosis of SLD whose Full-Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) was <85 showed a similar pattern. Our findings confirm the hypothesis that children with SLD generally obtain high GAI scores, but have specific deficiencies relating to working memory and processing speed, whereas children with ID have a general intellectual impairment. These findings have important diagnostic and clinical implications and should be considered when making diagnostic decisions in borderline cognitive cases.
Down syndrome (DS) is associated with extreme difficulty in verbal skills and relatively better visuo-spatial skills. Indeed, visuo-spatial ability is often considered a strength in DS. However, it is not clear whether this strength is only relative to the poor verbal skills, or, more impressively, relative to cognitive ability in general. To answer this question, we conducted an extensive literature review of studies on visuo-spatial abilities in people with Down syndrome from January 1987 to May 2013. Based on a general taxonomy of spatial abilities patterned after and and existing studies of DS, we included five different domains of spatial abilities – visuo-spatial memory, visuo-spatial construction, mental rotation, closure, and wayfinding. We evaluated a total of 49 studies including 127 different comparisons. Most comparisons involved a group with DS vs. a group with typical development matched on mental age and compared on a task measuring one of the five visuo-spatial abilities. Although further research is needed for firm conclusions on some visuo-spatial abilities, there was no evidence that visuo-spatial ability is a strength in DS relative to general cognitive ability. Rather, the review suggests an uneven profile of visuo-spatial abilities in DS in which some abilities are commensurate with general cognitive ability level, and others are below.
In the present study, we examined the profile of psychiatric symptoms in boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS) using a parent report instrument. In addition, by comparing boys with FXS to boys with nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder (ASD) utilizing multiple matching strategies, we examined between-group differences in the types of psychiatric symptoms observed and in the strength of their concurrent associations. Across all matching strategies, symptoms of manic/hyperactive behaviors and general anxiety were more frequently reported for boys with FXS than for boys with nonsyndromic ASD. Results also indicated a positive association between social avoidance and general anxiety in FXS that was stronger than that observed in nonsyndromic ASD across all matching strategies. Theoretical and treatment implications are discussed.
The present study compared the performances of young children with specific language impairment (SLI) to that of typically developing (TD) children on cognitive measures of working memory (WM) and behavioral ratings of executive functions (EF). The Automated Working Memory Assessment was administered to 58 children with SLI and 58 TD children aged 4 and 5 years. Additionally, parents completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Preschool Version. The results showed the SLI group to perform significantly worse than the TD group on both cognitive and behavioral measures of WM. The deficits in WM performance were not restricted to the verbal domain, but also affected visuospatial WM. The deficits in EF behaviors included problems with inhibition, shifting, emotional control, and planning/organization. The patterns of associations between WM performance and EF behaviors differed for the SLI versus TD groups. WM performance significantly discriminated between young children with SLI and TD, with 89% of the children classified correctly. The data indicate domain general impairments in WM and problems in EF behaviors in young children with SLI. Attention should thus be paid to WM – both verbal and visuospatial – and EF in clinical practice. Implications for assessment and remediation were discussed.
The present study examined age-related changes in the sleep of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) compared to age-related changes in the sleep of typically developing (TD) children. Participants were 108 mothers of children with ASD and 108 mothers of TD children. Participants completed a questionnaire on children's overall sleep quality that also tapped specific sleep-domains (i.e., bedtime resistance, sleep onset delay, sleep duration, sleep anxiety, night wakings, parasomnias, disordered breathing, daytime sleepiness). Results confirm significantly poorer sleep quantity and quality in children with ASD, particularly children age 6–9 years. Unlike TD children, the sleep problems of children with ASD were unlikely to diminish with age. Our findings suggest that it is important to exam specific domains of sleep as well as overall sleep patterns. Finding of significant age-related interactions suggests that the practice of combining children from wide age-ranges into a single category obfuscates potentially important developmental differences.
Swallowing and feeding disorder (dysphagia) have high incidence and prevalence in children and adults with developmental disability. Standardized screening and clinical assessments are needed to identify and describe the disorder. The aim of this study was to describe the psychometric properties of the ( ), a screening and clinical assessment of swallowing and feeding function for eating and drinking developed specifically for this population. The statistical analysis was performed on a sample of 654 individuals (age range 8–82) with intellectual and developmental disability living in two residential settings in the United States that served somewhat different populations. The two samples had similar factor structures. Internal consistency of the DDS and subscales was confirmed using Chronbach's coefficient alpha. The DDS demonstrated convergent validity when compared to judgments of swallowing and feeding disorder severity made by clinical swallowing specialists. Discriminative validity for severity of disorder was tested by comparing the two samples. The results of the study suggest that the is a reliable and valid test for identifying and describing swallowing and feeding disorder in children and adults with developmental disability.
Impaired gait constitutes an important functional limitation in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Treadmill training has achieved encouraging results regarding improvements in the gait pattern of this population. Moreover, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is believed to potentiate the results achieved during the motor rehabilitation process. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of the administration of tDCS during treadmill training on the gait pattern of children with spastic diparetic CP. A double-blind randomized controlled trial was carried out involving 24 children with CP allocated to either an experimental group (active anodal tDCS [1 mA] over the primary motor cortex of the dominant hemisphere) or control group (placebo tDCS) during ten 20-min sessions of treadmill training. The experimental group exhibited improvements in temporal functional mobility, gait variables (spatiotemporal and kinematics variables). The results were maintained one month after the end of the intervention. There was a significant change in corticospinal excitability as compared to control group. In the present study, the administration of tDCS during treadmill training potentiated the effects of motor training in children with spastic diparetic CP.
Altered trunk movements during gait in children with CP are considered compensatory due to lower limb impairments, although scientific evidence for this assumption has not yet been provided. This study aimed to study the functional relation between trunk and lower limb movement deficits during gait in children with spastic diplegia. Therefore, the relationship between trunk control in sitting, and trunk and lower limb movements during gait was explored in 20 children with spastic diplegia (age 9.2 ± 3 yrs; GMFCS level I = 10, level II = 10). Trunk control in sitting was assessed with the Trunk Control Measurement Scale (TCMS), a clinical measure that reflects the presence of an underlying trunk control deficit. Trunk movements during gait were measured with a recently developed trunk model including the pelvis, thorax, head, shoulder line and spine. Lower limb movements were assessed with the Plug-in-Gait model (Vicon ). Range of motion (ROM) of the different trunk segments was calculated, as well as the Trunk Profile Score (TPS) and Trunk Variable Scores (TVSs). Similarly, the Gait Profile Score (GPS) and Gait Variable Scores (GVSs) were calculated to describe altered lower limb movements during gait. Correlation analyses were performed between the presence of impaired trunk control in sitting (TCMS) and altered trunk movements during gait (ROM, TPS/TVSs) and between these altered trunk movements and lower limb movements (GPS/GVSs) during gait. A poorer performance on the TCMS correlated with increased ROM and TPS/TVSs, particularly for the thorax, indicating the presence of an underlying trunk control deficit. No significant correlation was found between the TPS and GPS, suggesting that overall trunk and lower limb movement deficits were not strongly associated. Only few correlations between specific lower limb deficits (GVSs for hip ab/adduction, knee flexion/extension and ankle flexion/extension) and TVSs for thorax lateral bending and rotation were found. This study provided first evidence that the altered trunk movements observed during gait should not be solely considered compensatory due to lower limb impairments, but that these may also partially reflect an underlying trunk control deficit. A better understanding of underlying trunk control deficits in children with CP may facilitate targeted therapy planning and ultimately can optimize a child's functionality.
Health checks for people with intellectual disabilities have been recommended as one component of international health policy responses to the poorer health of people with intellectual disabilities. This review updates a previously published review summarising evidence on the impact of health checks on the health and well-being of people with intellectual disabilities. Electronic literature searches and email contacts were used to identify literature relevant to the impact of health checks for people with intellectual disabilities published from 1989 to 2013. Forty-eight publications were identified, of which eight articles and two reports were newly identified and not included in the previous review. These involved checking the health of people with intellectual disabilities from a range of countries including a full range of people with intellectual disabilities. Health checks consistently led to detection of unmet health needs and targeted actions to address health needs. Health checks also had the potential to increase knowledge of the health needs of people with intellectual disabilities amongst health professionals and support staff, and to identify gaps in health services. Health checks are effective in identifying previously unrecognised health needs, including life threatening conditions. Future research should consider strategies for optimising the cost effectiveness or efficiency of health checks.
Problem or challenging behaviors are highly prevalent among persons with autism and bring along major risks for the individual with autism and his/her family. In order to reduce the problem behavior, several behavioral interventions are used. We conducted a quantitative synthesis of single-subject studies to examine the efficacy of behavioral interventions for reducing problem behavior in persons with autism. Two hundred and thirteen studies representing 358 persons with autism met the inclusion criteria and were included in the statistical analyses. Overall, we found that behavioral interventions were on average effective in reducing problem behavior in individuals with autism, but some interventions were significantly more effective than others. The results further showed that the use of positive (nonaversive) behavioral interventions was increasing over time. The behavioral interventions were on average equally effective regardless of the type of problem behavior that was targeted. Interventions preceded by a functional analysis reduced problem behavior significantly more than interventions not preceded by a functional analysis. Finally, treatment and experimental characteristics, but not participant characteristics, were statistically significant moderators of the behavioral treatment effectiveness.
World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0) provided a standardized method for measuring the health and disability and the traditional Chinese version has not been developed. To describe the process of developing the traditional Chinese version of the WHODAS 2.0 36-item version and to evaluate the concurrent validity and test–retest reliability of this instrument. The study was conducted in two phases. Phase I was the process of translation of WHODAS 2.0 36-item version. Phase II was a cross-sectional study. The participants were 307 adults who were tested the validity and reliability of draft traditional Chinese version. The reliability of Cronbach's α and ICC in the WHODAS 2.0 traditional Chinese version were 0.73–0.99 and 0.8–089, respectively. The content validity was good ( = 0.7–0.76), and the concurrent validity was excellent in comparison with the WHOQOL-BREF ( < 0.5). The construct validity, the model was explained total variance was 67.26% by the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) illustrated the traditional Chinese version was good to assess disability. There was a valid and reliable measurement scales for evaluating functioning and disability status. For disability eligibility system of Taiwan government to measure the disability, the traditional Chinese version of the WHODAS 2.0 provided valuable evidence to design the assessment instrument.
To date, much of the research linking the stress of caring for children with developmental disabilities (e.g. Autism & Down syndrome) with parental health outcomes have tended to concentrate on mental health with less attention paid to the physical health consequences. Thus, this study sought to explore the psychosocial predictors of poor physical health in these caring parents. One hundred and sixty-seven parents (109 caregivers and 58 control parents) completed measures of stress, child problem behaviours, social support, mastery and physical health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities had poorer physical health compared to control parents. Stress and mastery, but not social support and problem behaviours, were significant predictors of poor physical health within caring parents for children with developmental disabilities. However, the association between mastery and physical health was mediated by perceived stress such that those parents who were higher on mastery reported less stress and better physical health; furthermore, the association between stress and physical health was moderated by social support; those parents high on social support and low in stress had better physical health. These results indicate that the paths between psychosocial factors and poor physical health in the caring parents are working synergistically rather than in isolation. They also underscore the importance of providing multi-component interventions that offer a variety of psychosocial resources to meet the precise needs of the parents.
A growing body of research has sought to examine issues associated with the Quality of Life (QoL) of parents of children with Autistic Disorder. However, no studies have examined the QoL of Arab parents whose parenting experience is expected to be substantially different from that of their western counterparts. Therefore, the purposes of this study were: (1) to examine differences in the QoL between fathers and mothers of children with Autistic Disorder in a sample from an Arab country, and (2) to examine the psychosocial correlates of the QoL of Arab parents of children with Autistic Disorder. Self-administered questionnaires on parents’ QoL, stress, coping strategies, and demographic characteristics were completed by 184 parents of children with Autistic Disorder. The participants were recruited using the convenience sampling design. Fathers and mothers of children with Autistic Disorder showed no significant differences in their physical, psychological, social, and environmental health. Further, both parents showed almost similar bivariate correlations between the reported QoL levels and their parenting stress, coping strategies, and demographic characteristics. This is the first study to examine the QoL of parents of children with Autistic Disorder in the Arab world and, in doing so, it highlighted the distinct lack of research in this area. The QoL of Arab parents of children with Autistic Disorder crosses lines with their stress levels, coping strategies, demographic characteristics, and to some extent their cultural context.
While it is generally agreed that motor activity promotes motor, cognitive, and social development, the specific benefits in people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities (S-PID) are as yet unknown. The aim of this study was to systematically review the evidence related to motor interventions designed to improve motor, cognitive, and/or social outcomes in people with S-PID. A systematic review of empirical studies published between 1982 and 2012 was conducted using four databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC, and CINAHL). Data were extracted regarding the aim of the study, study design, sample characteristics, theoretical framework, intervention, the measurement tools utilized, and outcomes. Of 295 articles reviewed, 46 met our inclusion criteria and covered 45 different studies. Forty articles used single-subject designs and five used a group design. The majority of the articles focused on behavioural techniques with ( = 21) or without ( = 15) assistive technology. Theoretical frameworks were explicitly reported in nine (20%) of the 45 articles. Thirty-eight articles reported improvement in basic motor skills and eight articles reported improvement in recreational or more specialist motor skills. None of the articles reported negative effects due to motor interventions. Further research is required to determine which motor interventions are the most effective in improving motor outcomes and/or cognitive and social outcomes, and on the longer term effects of these interventions in people with S-PID.
Epidemiological evidence suggests that poor physical health and depression are highly co-morbid. To date, however, no study has considered whether depression in parents caring for children with developmental disabilities is partly driven by poor physical health. Using data from the Growing Up in Ireland national cohort study (2006 to date), 627 parents of children with developmental disabilities were compared with 7941 parents of typically developing children on scores from the Centre for Epidemiological Depression Scale, chronic health conditions, socio-demographic and child behavioural characteristics. Having a child with disabilities was associated with a higher risk of depression (odds ratio (OR) = 1.83, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.43, 2.35) compared to parents of typically developing children. Adjusting for the presence of chronic health conditions accounted for some of this excess risk (OR = 1.77, 95% CI: 1.38, 2.27). The association between having a child with disabilities and increased risk of depression was explained, however, by adjusting for the child problem behaviours (OR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.81, 1.43). This study has confirmed, in a population-based sample, the high risk of depression in parents caring for children with developmental disabilities after adjusting for the presence of a chronic health condition. Importantly, given that poor mental health in these parents is associated with a battery of negative health and social family outcomes, it is imperative that health professionals pay attention to the mental health needs of these parents.
Support staff working with individuals with intellectual disability (ID) and challenging behaviour experience high levels of work-related stress. Preliminary theoretical and experimental research has highlighted the potential suitability of acceptance and mindfulness approaches for addressing support staff stress. This study examines the effectiveness of an acceptance and mindfulness-based stress management workshop on the levels of psychological distress and well-being of support staff working with individuals with ID and challenging behaviour. Support staff ( = 120) were randomly assigned to a workshop intervention condition ( = 66) or to a waiting list control condition ( = 54). Measurements were completed at three time points (pre-, post and 6 week follow-up) for: psychological distress, well-being, perceived work stressors, thought suppression, and emotional avoidance/psychological inflexibility. Main Findings: The intervention led to significantly greater reductions in distress in the intervention group than in the control group. This was largely maintained at 6 week follow-up. This effect was more pronounced amongst a subsample that had shown higher levels of psychological distress at baseline. Thought suppression was found to reduce significantly in the intervention group between post intervention and follow-up, although no significant change was found in well-being or experiential avoidance/psychological inflexibility. Overall, results demonstrated support for the effectiveness of an acceptance and mindfulness-based intervention in reducing distress.