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 16 Number 1 – Falling Through the Cracks


Let Me Say We Don't Care About Them

The Clinical Profiles of Women with Intellectual Disabilities and Affecitve or Adjustment Disorder Utilizing Mental Health Services
Anna M. Palucka, Margaret Reid, and Anjali Holstein

Women with disability often express the same psychological needs as their non-disabled peers: a need for automony and self-determination, belonging, being in an intimate relationship, and getting married, having children, or holding a job. Expression and fulfillment of these needs is at best difficult for someone with an intellectual disability and becomes even more difficult if there are other complicating factors present such as dependency, anxiety, or self-esteem issues. This report presents a review of referrals to a specialized dual diagnosis program for women with mild levels of intellectual disability whose maladaptive behaviours could best be conceptualized as stemming from care providers' inadequate understanding and support of their psychological and emotional needs. The challenges of supporting women who present with complex psychological, emotional, and interpersonal needs, and the implications for staff training and staff support are discussed

Addressing the Needs of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities: Exploring a Parenting Pilot Project
Katie MacLean and Marjorie Aunos

Beginning in the 1960s, the deinstitutionalization movement in North America resulted in people with intellectual disabilities integrating into society, forming relationships, and for some, becoming parents. As parents, additional needs were identified by research and addressed by adaptations in clinical practice. However, few policies and specialized services currently exist for these parents, with none offered within Quebec. A pilot project was developed to address this service gap in the Montreal region. International research and best practices were the stepping stone in the development of a curriculum aimed at supporting parents, the majority mothers, in their parenting role. This project is described and examples of content and feedback from key stakeholders are provided. The qualitative results on the impact of this program format may encourage service providers to develop similar groups to address their multifaceted needs.

Services for Adults and Adolescents with ASD in Ontario - Parent and Professional Perspectives
Stacy E. White and Jonathan A. Weiss

The present study aimed to examine the availability, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder ( ASD ) in Ontario , as perceived by parents and professionals in the field. Attendees at a 2008 Autism Ontario conference (N=175) responded to a survey designed by the organization and rated each of these aspects for 11 specific services. Data analyses revealed a disparity in participants views of service availability among respondents from the Central region, and differences in views of accessibility and effectiveness among those in Southern Ontario . Possible explanations for these trends are discussed.

Providing Education for All

Supported Empowerment for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Dementia
Shehenaz Manji and Peter Dunn

This qualitative case study explored the experiences of individuals who have developmental disabilities and dementia. The findings of the study identify two social processes: one of marginalization and the other of supported empowerment. The process of marginalization depicts how dementia affects people as they incur multiple losses in ability, home, and community. In spite of losses, the findings illustrate how these individuals can maintain their selfhood with good health support, decision-making, self-agency, and autonomy. The study generates a theory of supported empowerment grounded in the data and micro-practices that can support people to continue living meaningful lives.

Disproportionate Referral Rates May Falsely Impact the Ratio of Girls and Women on the Spectrum
Michelle Fattigh-Smith

Our Compass
Tess Vo

Created in 2009, Our Compass is a short documentary video that tells the previously unheard stories of a group of young, queer-identified Torontonians who are also labelled as having intellectual disabilities. This diverse group comes together at Compass - as social group created for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth at Griffin Centre - where they are offered a support group, a social network, and a safe place to explore their identities. In the documentary, the participants engage in discussion of topiecs such as dating, sex, battling stigma and coming out, while preparing for professional portraits that will showcase the feature of their identities that they are most proud of. Power, freedom, hope and love are a few of the words of inspiration that the youth of Our Compass impart to the audience.

Inclusion in the Schools: A parent/teacher/researcher perspective

Review of Admissions of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to a Specialized Dual Diagnosis Program
E. Alice Prichard, Anna Palucka, Margaret Reid, and Yona Lunsky

Little research has been conducted on adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, and an intellectual disability (ID). The purpose of the current study was to review the characteristics of adults with ASD who are admitted to a specialized Dual Diagnosis Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study involved an in-depth chart review of all clients in both the outpatient and inpatient services from 1999 to 2005 with diagnoses of an ASD, a mental health concern, and an ID. Our sample of clients included 20 clients who accessed only the outpatient clinic for consultation purposes and 20 who were seen as inpatients. This paper describes the characteristics of these clients and compares the outpatient and inpatient groups. Significantly more inpatient than outpatient clients received the diagnosis of Autistic Disorder as compared to other ASD diagnoses (e.g., Asperger Disorder). The three most common co-occurring diagnoses across these client were a mood disorder (30% for both groups), an anxiety disorder (30% for consultation group and 10% for inpatient group), and schizophrenia or psychosis (15% for consultation group and 35% for inpatient group). The most common primary reasons for referral to the clinic for both groups were challenging behaviour (45% for consultation group and 30% for inpatient group) and threat/danger to others (20% for consultation group and 35% for inpatient group). Significantly more inpatient clients (45%) than consultation clients (5%) were referred by other departments at CAMH. Thirty-eight percent of the clients had their Axis 1 diagnosis changed from intake to exit. Further findings highlighting demographic and psychiatric characteristics of this population are discussed in light of better understanding this complex group

Intellectual Disability and War: Issues for Consideration
Samuel Grove, Nicola Grove, and Ted Myerscough

Highlighting the need for further research, this paper offers a preliminary review of the available information and data regarding the involvement of people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) in armed conflict. Literature searches reveal a paucity of information, with most statistics relating to disabilities which are caused by war, rather than the effects of war on people with pre-existing disabilities. The specific ways in which people with IDs may be vulnerable during war are outlined, as well as the ways in which they have been actively involved.

Impact of Aggressive Behaviour on Burnout and Quality of Support
Jennifer Neben and Charles Chen

This qualitative community-based study in Southern Ontario investigated the effect or influence that aggressive behaviour of some individuals with a developmental disability has on the level of burnout in developmental service workers (DS workers). Previous research has identified stress as relatively high in DS workers and has linked burnout to a reduction in the quality of services provided. Findings from the current study identified and depicted how aggressive behaviour can influence the level of burnout by leading to reduced patience and negative feelings such as powerlessness. In response, many DS workers disengage from their work or transfer to other positions or employment, resulting in a disruption in the continuity of support for an already marginalized segment of individuals with a developmental disability. Suggestions for addressing burnout in DS workers and important areas for future research are discussed.

Pedophiles: The Quest for Comprehensive Treatment
Peter R. Johnson

This paper extends recent descriptive statistics on sex offenders with intellectual disabilities (Johnson, 2008) by presenting clinical evidence on the treatment of pedophiles. With the safety of children as a primary concern, the misdiagnosis of Pedophilia is discussed, along with the examples of the different possible outcomes of comprehensive and piecemeal services. The use of cognitive-behavioural therapy in the reduction of community supervision for these me is also highlighted.

Rights, Respect and Tokenism: Challenges in Self-Advocacy
Sue Hutton, Peter Park, Rhea Park, and Kim Rider