Support Professionals and Students in the
Field of Developmental Disabilities

Journal on Developmental Disabilities

The Journal on Developmental Disabilities is a peer-reviewed journal with a growing regional and international readership.

Volume 14 Number 3 – General Issue


Participation in Special Olympics and Change in Athlete Self-Concept Over 42 Months
Jonathan A. Weiss and James M. Bebko

The present study investigated changes in the self-concept of 49 athletes with intellectual disabilities participating in traditional Special Olympics over a 42-month period. Athletes were interviewed to assess their perceived general self-worth, physical competence and social acceptance, and involvement in Special Olympics, which was operationalized through an overall standard score combining a number of components. After controlling for baseline levels of self-worth and involvement in Special Olympics, changes in involvement in Special Olympics predicted improved general self-worth. After adjustment for baseline levels of perceived physical competence and involvement in Special Olympics, changes in involvement in Special Olympics predicted perceived physical competence at 42 months.

Books Written by Parents of Children With Developmental Disabilities: A Quantitative Text Analysis
David W. Carroll

This research explored how parents of children with developmental disabilities construct narratives of their family experience. Books written by parents of children with developmental disabilities and typically developing children were analyzed using quantitative text analysis. Books written by parents of children with developmental disabilities used fewer first person singular and second person pronouns but more first person plural and third person pronouns. In addition, parents of children with disabilities were more optimistic, less angry, and made fewer references to family and home than parents of typically developing children. The study is consistent with research that identifies positive adjustments to the challenges of parenting a child with developmental disabilities. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the American Psychological Association convention, San Francisco, August 2007.

Processus diagnostique des personnes presentant un trouble envahissant du developpement au Quebec : experience des parents
Annie Poirier and Georgette Goupil

Diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders is an important step to get services for early intervention. This study describes the steps to obtain a diagnosis for 92 persons having a pervasive developmental disorder. Their parents completed a questionnaire. The results indicate that the mean age at the moment of diagnosis is 5.8 years and that 4.5 consultations are necessary in the process. Data revealed significant differences between the diagnosis of Aspergers disorder and the diagnosis of autism or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. The discussion compares these results with other studies in the literature.

Perception des parents quebecois sur l'annonce d'un diagnostic de trouble envahissant du developpement
Annie Poirier and Georgette Goupil

The diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder is a complex issue. Its announcement is a critical moment for the family. The aim of this study was to evaluate the parents perceptions concerning the attitude of professionals in charge of revealing a diagnosis to the family, and the conditions in which this announcement was made. Participants were parents of 92 people who received a diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder in the last two years. Parents had to complete a questionnaire. Data indicate parental satisfaction regarding the professionals attitude and regarding the meeting where they learned about the diagnosis for the first time. However, half the participants thought the information transmitted in relation to the diagnosis had to be improved.

Future Thinking in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Pilot Study
Laura K. Jackson and Cristina M. Atance

This study examined future thinking ability in children with autism spectrum disorders (CWA) (11 males, 1 female; 4 years 8 months - 13 years 1 month (4;8 - 13;1). CWA show deficits in various aspects of their development, including theory of mind (ToM) understanding. In light of recent theorizing about the potential link between ToM and future thinking, we hypothesized that CWA should have greater difficulty making predictions about the psychological world and, notably, the "future self," than the physical/mechanical world. Results confirmed this hypothesis: CWA scored significantly lower on self than mechanical tasks. Although only a pilot study, these findings are an important addition to the body of autism literature which, to date, has not targeted future thinking skills.

Professionalism and the Group Home Worker: Moving From the Informal to the Formal
Andrea Betts

Professionalism and its relation to the work done in group homes is an idea which is growing in support. Many other professions set out characteristics to define themselves as professional occupations. This paper attempts to place the effort of developmental service workers within the frameworks established by other caring professions, making the case for a movement towards the professionalization of the developmental services field.

Families and Differential Diagnosis of Developmental Disability
Shelley L. Watson

This literature review presents the issues around families and differential diagnosis of developmental disability. The review begins with a brief overview of research on families of children with disabilities, followed by the arguments for and against labelling developmental disabilities. The limited information known about the diagnostic process from families and medical professionals is discussed. Finally, a critique of the literature highlights the need for more interpretive studies of the diagnostic process and the reasons for seeking a differential diagnosis.

Separation, Farewell, Departure, Loss, and Death Explained With Classical Music to Young Adults With Severe Disabilities
Fanny Silber

Classical music has been widely used by scientists to better understand the origins and the nature of emotions in relation to the brain functions, and to the socio-cultural background of humans. The professional literature shows that its use has been rarer when working with exceptional children in special education and in music therapy. This anecdotal paper describes a project prepared and presented by a transdisciplinary team (teacher, speech pathologist, music therapist) during two years with young adults with severe cerebral palsy and moderate to profound mental retardation. Cognitive achievements have been noticed such as the students' ability to recognize and identify musical themes, an increase in their attention span, an improvement in their memory skills, a steady, on-task behaviour, and the presence of relevant, appropriate and unquestionable facial expressions when listening to music. To note is that the term "mental retardation" has been used in the diagnostic sense in this paper.

The "On Our Own Together Housing Project" (Cooperative Housing for People with Intellectual Disabilities)
Raymond Leblanc, Ruma Paruthi, Ann-Louise Davidson, Nathalie Clement, Sophie Godbout, Silas Leno, Mirela Moldoveanu, Yolaine Payeur, and Catherine Turcotte

The most pressing issue for young adults with intellectual disabilities served by the LiveWorkPlay (LWP) support organization is independent living. A related concept is co-housing, that is, sharing communal space in cooperative community living. The project On Our Own Together II (OOOT2) provided an opportunity for independent living during one summer. The action-research format investigation involved problem-posing and problem-solving core processes. Four issues everyday problem solving, morning routine, telephone use, and television viewing were studied. Most often the 14 participants, without any explicit help, vocally expressed problems encountered. The majority of the participants reported successful completion of morning routine activities. They used telephones daily, while television viewing was minimal. The rich summer experience, hence, gave the participants an introduction to community living making them better informed and more prepared for what lies ahead.


Media Reviews

Media and Messages: Exploring Old and New Worlds of Developmental Disability and the Media
Esther Ignagni and Jihan Abbas

Autism: The Musical
Morgan Ineson

Out From Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember
The Compass Youth, Jennifer Paterson, and Tess Vo

Connectivity, Representation and Opportunity On-line
Pamela Cushing

Reviewers 2007, 2008
List of Reviewers

David Abbott Tony Attwood Steve Beyer Sally Bond Francoise Brett Ivan Brown Philip Burge Cinda Clark Denice Feig Michelle Fellows W.M.L. Finlay Ann Fudge Schormans Laraine Glidden Howard Goldstein Dorothy Griffith Gregory Hare Rick Hemp Neita Israelite Bonnie Kraemer Yves Lachapelle Raymond Leblanc H.C. Lin Barbara Ludlow Yona Lunsky Rosemary Lysaght Lynn Martin Bruce McCreary Patricia Minnes Frances Owen Maire Percy Candida Peterson Nancy Person Nathalie Poirier Mary Rizzolo Holly Seniuk Thomas Suddendorf Barbara Thompson Miles Thompson Tricia Vause Michael Wehmeyer W. Larry Williams Lucia Winters Markus Wolf