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 15 Number 1 – General Issue


Why is it so Hard to Talk About Our Intellectual Disability? A Pilot Study Using Action Research
Ann-Louise Davidson

The label intellectual disability (ID) has long been problematic for those targeted as such and their families. Institutions that work with people with ID face many daily challenges including health, security, autonomy, well-being, self-acceptance, etc. These institutions have to prioritize what they think is most important for their clients and provide support for their community and residential integration. Despite this support, in the ID community there is still a lot of suffering caused by the misunderstood label. In this collaborative action research, we recruited five adults with mild or moderate ID to find out how they understood their ID and what it means when they say they want to talk about it. Findings reveal that they do have insight regarding solutions to the problem and that they think ICT (information and communication technologies), if used appropriately, could act as support in these matters. Finally, this study shows how collaborative action research tools are relevant to solving real life problems.

A Self-Instructional Package for Teaching University Students to Conduct Discrete-Trials Teaching With Children With Autism
Sandra Salem, Daniela Fazzio, Lindsay Arnal, Pam Fregeau, Kendra Thomson, Garry L. Martin, and C.T. Yu

There is considerable need for rapid training procedures to teach staff and parents to conduct applied behaviour analysis training sessions with children with autism. We used a multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate a self-instructional package to train four university students to implement discrete-trials teaching (DTT) to teach a research assistant who role-played a child with autism (a confederate). The training package included mastery of a self-instructional manual plus observation of a demonstration video. After an average of 4.5 hours of exposure to the training package, students average DTT performance improved from 46% in baseline to 78% while teaching a confederate. Two students who performed ≥80% following training were assessed for generalization during subsequent sessions with a child with autism, and their DTT performance averaged 74%. The results suggest that self-instructional strategies have considerable potential for instructing participants to conduct DTT with children with autism.

A Comparison of Behaviour Functions in Community and Facility Settings
Francisco J. Barrera and Erica E. Graver

This study sought to compare the functions of challenging behaviours (physical aggression, self-injurious behaviour and property destruction) displayed by persons with developmental disabilities living either in a community or a facility setting. A sample of 30 individuals, half from each setting, was assessed via familiar informants using a specially devised checklist (the GB Motivating Screening Tool), which was developed from items of commonly used functional assessment checklists. The results showed similar behaviour functions across settings, e.g., escape-attention for aggression, and sensory-discomfort for both self-injury and property destruction. Predominant functions were also found to be closely associated with specific psychiatric diagnoses, notably Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

Caregiver Satisfaction with Healthcare Access for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Sara Porisky and Patricia Minnes

This study focused on healthcare (i.e., medical, specialized medical and dental care) for high school students with developmental disabilities (DD). Data obtained from caregivers during telephone interviews indicated that the majority of students with DD used healthcare services regularly. Overall caregivers were highly satisfied with the healthcare services that students with DD were receiving.

Positive and Negative Experiences of Parents Involved in Online Self-Help Groups for Autism
Irene Carter

This paper explores the Internet-based self-help group experiences of 22 parental advocates who have children with autism. The Internet is a particularly useful method for families, who are stretched to the limit for time and resources, to find ways to help their children as well as to establish social supports for themselves. Furthermore, in this study the Internet was found to be a more effective and less restrictive vehicle through which to undertake advocacy work than were face-to-face self-help groups. Positive experiences that arose from Internet-based groups included support, empowerment, and effective strategies for advocacy. Negative experiences included receiving confusing, overwhelming and unreliable information and other disappointing outcomes.

Teaching Object-Picture Matching to Improve Concordance between Object and Picture Preferences for Indiviudals with Developmental Disabilities: Pilot Study
Duong Minh Nguyen, C.T. Yu, Toby L. Martin, Pamela Fregeau, Cheryl Pogorzelec, and Garry L. Martin

We evaluated teaching object-picture matching to improve concordance between preference assessments using objects and pictures of the same objects. Three participants with developmental disabilities who showed high and low preferences during assessments with objects but not with pictures were taught object-picture matching tasks unrelated to the items used during preference assessments. Training was evaluated in a modified multiple-baseline design and preference assessments with objects and pictures were repeated after training each object-picture matching task. Two participants showed improved concordance after mastering two and three training tasks, respectively. The third participant did not show concordance between object and picture preference assessments after mastering two tasks and after additional training. Our findings suggested that object-picture matching might be a prerequisite for picture preference assessments.


Media Reviews

What Kind of Life did Tracy Have?
Ashif Jaffer

Ashif Jaffer is a student who has just finished his first course in the Department of Disability Studies at Ryerson. He has applied for full time classes in Politics for September. Ashif Jaffer wrote the following piece in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an undergraduate course at Ryerson University, Writing For Disability Activism. Ashif is the first student with Downs Syndrome to complete an undergraduate course within a degree program at Ryerson. While his piece is not a typical review, it was written in response to the media coverage of Robert Latimer throughout 2008. During that period, Latimer came before the National Parole Board after serving 10 years of his life sentence for the 1993 murder of his disabled daughter, Tracy. Upon appeal he was granted day parole, a transfer to a half-way house in British Columbia and unescorted leave over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The Freedom Tour
Esther Ignagni

Putting Us Away: Excavating Two Journeys to Find Alternatives to Community Living. A Review of The Boy in The Moon (2007), by Ian Brown & Her Name Is Sabine (2007), by Sandrine Bonnaire
Joanne Bacon

Errata: 14(2); 14(3)
Our sincere thanks to those who notified us about the following errors in the second and third issues of volume 14.

Volume 14(2) Re: Carr, J. (2008). Families of 40-year-olds with Down syndrome. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 14(2), 35�43. Some data in Table 1 on page 37 were reported incorrectly. The correct data for mothers in the DS group for overall health are: Good�60%, Fair�28%, and Poor�12%. The correct data for mothers in the DS group who felt run-down and/or depressed are: run-down�6%, Depressed�11%, Both�11%, Neither�72%. Volume 14(3) Re: Carrol, D.W. (2008). Books written by parents of children with developmental disabilities: A quantitative text analysis. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 14(3), 9�18. Some of the text on page 12 immediately preceding Table 1 was missing. This should read as follows: As I found books that met my criteria, I used several search features on (e.g., keywords, suggestions for other books bought by customers) to identify similar books. I chose the first 18 PCDD and CTL books that met my criteria. The corrected version is posted on the Journal site of the OADD website. Re: The Compass Youth, Paterson, J., & Vo, T. (2008). Disability, history and things to remember. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 14(3), 98�100.