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 3 – General Issue


Perceptions du personnel en milieu carceral face aux detenus avec une deficience intellectuelle
Celine Mercier et Guillaume Ouellet

In the context of a study carried out in prison, it was observed that persons known to have an intellectual disability (ID) were treated markedly differently by staff. This paper reports on the different perceptions held by prison staff and proposes four profiles of prisoners with an ID developed using a typological approach, including: the "vulnerable" prisoner, the "resident" prisoner, the "irritating" prisoner, and the "dangerous" prisoner. In the absence of any evaluation tools and decision-support mechanisms, these implicit profiles appeared to act as markers in the treatment of persons with ID in prison.

Meres presentant une deficience intellectuelle : perceptions de leur qualite de vie
Kathleen St-Amand, Georgette Goupil, et Marjorie Aunos

Services for mothers who have an intellectual disability should aim to help them achieve a satisfactory quality of life. This exploratory study describes the perceptions of ten mothers regarding their quality of life according to four indicators: independence, satisfaction, social participation and competence and work productivity. Obtained via the Quality of Life Questionnaire (Schalock & Keith, 1993a), the data indicated that these mothers perceived having some control over their environment and were very or moderately satisfied with their lives. The majority of them also perceived their parenting role as postive. On the other hand, their quality of life was deemed lower in terms of their social participation and competence at work.

L'annonce du diagnostic d'un trouble envahissant du developpement : perceptions des grands-parents
Valerie Roussell et Georgette Goupil

Diagnosis is an important step for families who have children with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). In this context, grandparents are an important source of support. Despite this importance, few studies have assessed the situation of grandparents in the diagnostic process of a grandchild. This study aimed at describing perceptions and experiences of grandparents in relation with the diagnosis of PDD: the waiting period, the diagnosis and afterwards. Fifteen grandparents responded to a questionnaire during an interview. Data analysis reveals that grandparents are involved with parents from the time they noticed first signs of PDD. Most of the grandparents learned about the diagnosis the same day as the parents. At this moment, most of them had little knowledge of PDD. Grandparents express many different feelings, but sorrow remains the most common emotion during the period preceding diagnosis, at the time of the announcement and afterwards. To cope with these emotions and adapt to the situation, few grandparents received support from service providers, however, they received help from their surroundings.

Facilitating and Impeding Factors for Knowledge Translation in Developmental Disabilities: Outcomes of Community-Based Workshops
Toby Martin, Shahin Shooshtari, Beverley Temple, and C.T. Yu

We held three community workshops to strengthen partnership and commitment for knowledge translation (KT) in developmental disabilities (DD), and to learn about contextual factors that facilitate and impede KT. Sixty-four administrators, parents, policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers participated. We introduced a conceptual framework for KT, conducted assessments of KT capacity, discussed contextual facilitating and impeding factors, and considered ways to improve KT. We found that all participants highly valued research, but organizational mission statements, policies, and job descriptions do not always prioritize research; lack of time, incentives, and resources were cited as impediments to KT. Researchers were advised to develop projects collaboratively with practitioners, and to disseminate findings using channels accessible to the general public.

Video Modelling and Peer-Mediated Instruction of Social Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Christine R. Ogilvie, and Lisa A. Dieker

This study explored the impact of video modelling and peer-mediated instruction of five social skills on middle school students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using a multiple baseline across subjects design. Three students with ASD were observed in inclusion classrooms to determine levels of demonstration of five social skills. The participants were then shown video models of the skills, followed by participation in role-plays with peer mentors, and further observations were made to document differences in the level of the demonstration of the five social skills. The results indicated that the intervention positively impacted the social skills of the students with ASD, including increases in social initiation (greeting a peer/teacher) and tracking the talker.

Two Feet and a Heart Beat: The Canadian Professional Identity Crisis in Community Disability Services
Cheryl Crocker and Susan Cran

The struggle for professional identity in the human service professions is not new. More established professions such as psychology and social work can attest to a long, philosophical battle, often political in nature, in the pursuit of professional regulation, licensure, and certification. Historically, in Alberta, the community disability services workforce has been small in number, fragmented, and untrained. More recently, this workforce has been acknowledged for its interdisciplinary knowledge and training in community development, rehabilitation processes and strategies, and inclusive practices for supporting individuals with disabilities to be part of community. The article examines the quest for professional identity of direct service workers. Further, it presents ideas on initiating the development of a professional association that warrant further investigation.


Brief Reports

Parent Empowerment and Mental Health: Understanding Parent Perceptions of the Educatonal Experience
Jennifer A. MacMullin, Michelle A. Viecili, M. Catherine Cappadocia, and Jonathan A. Weiss

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are important partners with schools in ensuring effective education, and it is important to examine the factors that influence parent perceptions of their children's educational experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relations among parent empowerment, parent mental health, and perceptions of children's educational experience in 176 parents of children with ASD. Parent empowerment and mental health were found to be significant predictors of parents' perceptions of their child's educational experience. The importance of understanding constructs such as empowerment and mental health and how they relate to school satisfaction is discussed.

The Relationship Between Social Acceptance, Problem Behaviours, and Social Skills as Perceived by Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Michelle A. Viecili, Jonathan A. Weiss, Yona Lunsky, and Stephen Shupak

The current study examined the relationships among social acceptance and perceived social skills, internalizing and externalizing behaviours, and friendships in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Forty participants aged 6 to 14 years self-reported on all of the above-mentioned variables except friendships. Social acceptance was found to be postively correlated with social skills and number of friends in school and negatively correlated with internalizing behaviours. This study highlights the possible pathways to positive feelings of social acceptance in youth with autism spectrum disorders.

IBI Training: Social and Play Skills upon Entry as Predictors of Outcome in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Puneet Sharma, Aisha Heywood, and Devi Rajkumar

This study examined the relationship between receipt of Intensive Behavour Intervention (IBI), play and social interaction among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the onset of the program, children engaged in play at a higher rate than in social interaction. After exposure to IBI for a period of at least a year, play continued to be more frequently engaged in by the children, which is consistent with the well-documented difficulties of children with this disorder in relating to their peers.

IBI Training: Predictors of Outcome in the Area of Language Acquisition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Brenda Roussel, Christina Zimmermann, Patrick Duldulao, and Tatyana Ahmed

This study examined the relationship between children's ability to label objects and events at the time of entry into an Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) program and their language skills at program completion. It also investigated whether the presence of speech at program entry was related to language skills at program completion. Results revealed that children's ability to tact at program entry was correlated with significant gains in some language skills at program completion, and, children who had speech performed better in the labeling domain than children who were non-verbal. However, even children who were non-verbal made measurable gains in receptive and expressive language domains by the time of program completion.



We Exist Because They Exist
Devi Mucina

Society creates a context that makes disability/dyslexia present and problematic in everyday life. In the two stories that I share I will highlight and demonstrate how the fallacy of normalcy traps us into trying to fit into a non-existing meaninglessness of normal. As a disabled person I perpetuated oppression in hope of avoiding exclusion as part of the disabled other, yet my disabled otherness never allowed me total inclusion. Yet, I worked hard to be normal until I realized that normal is making believe what is false. To be normal is to try hid our commonalty of all having different levels of disability. I wonder, could our stories help us imagine how we could do disabiltiy differently. In this effort I will share my stories with you in hope of finding common ground with you. I want us to matter to each other. I believe stories can help us matter to each other. The power of story has been put thus, by the great Indigenous scholar and storyteller Thomas King: The truth about stories is that that's all we are (2003, p.2). I believe we share stories with each other because stories allow us to create shared common connections while also allowing us to have amazement about those who have unique experiences.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Implications for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders - Part I
Robert King

The term Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), (Herman, 1992) describes the clinical presentation of individuals exposed to repeated trauma. Clinical experience and prevalence studies support the increased vulnerability of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to repeated trauma. This paper offers hypotheses regarding the manner in which individuals with ASD may process trauma, and the manner in which the core features of ASD may effect subsequent clinical presentations. Evidence-based practice arising from the psychotherapeutic treatment of both neurotypical and individuals with ASD is reveiwed. An emphasis on the value of modifying cognitive-behavioural therapeutic approaches and a description of methods to do so, to address the need of individuals with ASD and CPTSD, is highlighted.