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 17 Number 1 – General Issue


Occupational Satisfaction, Strain, and Intention to Quit among Direct Care Providers Assisting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Jeffrey M. McKillop and Patricia Minnes

This study assessed employment variables that may predict intention to quit among direct care providers assisting individuals with developmental disabilities. A sample of 96 direct care providers completed a brief questionnaire that measured (1) specific occupational characteristics of providers, (2) frequency of adaptive and maladaptive behaviours displayed by clients, (3) the quality of providers' work group, and (4) providers' level of occupational strain and job satisfaction. Direct care providers who expressed lower job satisfaction demonstrated higher intention to leave their employment. Lower job satisfaction was influenced by higher ratings of occupational strain, work group dysfunction, and years of education. The results suggest that reducing employment strain among direct care providers and increasing work group cohesion may be beneficial to both providers and agencies that assist individuals with developmental disabilities

Extending the Hierarchy of the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities: The Role of Conditional Position Discrimination
Holly A. Seniuk, Ashley E. Grennwald, W. Larry Williams, and Marianne L. Jackson

The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) is designed to measure the ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to learn three simple and three conditional discrimination tasks. The current study was designed to determine whether a conditional position discrimination would fit into the current ABLA heirarchy, and where it may fit. It was found that a conditional position discrimination fell above level 6, with half of the participants at level 6 being able to perform the task. The study also demonstrated that a direct response-reinforcer procedure was not effective in improving performance on the task.

CBCL Profiles of Children and Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome: A Review and Pilot Study
Jessica Schroeder, Jonathan Weiss, and James Bebko

There is increasing recognition of psychiatric co-morbidities in individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) that extend beyond the core features of the disorder. Previous research with individuals with AS and autism are summarized. This study aims to examine the behavioural profile of a non-referred AS sample. The Childhood Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) was completed by parents of fifteen children and adolescents with AS (6 - 18 years). Elevated scores across all CBCL scales were found relative to the normative group. Social, thought and attention problems and anxiety and depressive symptoms were particularly elevated. Research and clinical implications are discussed.

L'utilisation des technologies en intervention precoce : pistes de reflexion
Dany Lussier-Desrochers, Carmen Dionne, and Arline Laforest

Information and communication technology in pre-school settings are considered as important contributors in early intervention for children with intellectual disabilities and children with autism spectrum disorder. The potential of such technology to improve various developmental components of young children and to adapt the interventions to the specific needs of each child have been recognized. However, these technologies raise various questions regarding the professional intervention and even the type of help that is provided to families.

Commentary: Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Implications for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders - Part II
Robert King and Cindy L. Desaulnier

The term complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), (Herman, 1992) describes the clinical presentation of individuals exposed to repeated trauma. Hypotheses regarding the manner in which individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with CPTSD may process trauma and the manner and how they might present clinically with this disorder, have been explored (King, 2010). This paper discusses practice-based evidence regarding the treatment of CPTSD in neurotypical individuals and summarizes evidence-based suggestions for the modification of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). The need to continue to gather evidence-based modifications to CBT to optimize the treatment of CPTSD in individuals with ASDs is highlighted.

Does the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities Predict Four-Choice Discrimination Learning for Persons with Developmental Disabilities?
Lee F. MacPherson, Christine G. P. Sousa, Kendra M. Thomson, Toby L. Martin, Sandra Salem, Garry L. Martin, and C. T. Yu

The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) measures the ease or difficulty with which persons with developmental disabilities are able to learn a simple imitation and 5 two-choice discrimination tasks (Kerr, Meyerson & Flora, 1977). The pass/fail performance of clients on the ABLA predicts their ability to learn a variety of two-choice training tasks (Martin, Thorsteinsson, Yu, Maritn, & Vause, 2008). The current study assessed whether pass/fail performance of clients on the ABLA predicted their learning of four-choice tasks, and whether those predictions were as accurate as direct-care staff who had worked with the participants for at least three months. Participants passed significantly more four-choice tasks at their ABLA level than four-choice tasks immediately above their highest passed ABLA level, supporting the predictive validity of the ABLA. Staff predictions were slightly more accurate than ABLA predictions, although the difference was not statistically significant. Implications of these finding are discussed.


Brief Reports

Exploring the Characteristics or Children with a Diagnosis of PDD-NOS
Naveen Hassan and Adrienne Perry

The purpose of this study was to examine the diagnostic and developmental profiles of 105 children given a PDD-NOS diagnosis. Four subgroups were formed based on the reason for the PDD-NOS diagnosis (fewer than 6 criteria, fewer than 2 social criteria, no repetitive behaviours, and other). Cognitive level, adaptive functioning, autism severity, and the number of DSM-IV autism criteria were examined, but the four subgroups did not differ on any developmental or diagnostic variables. Results suggest that the PDD-NOS group is very heterogeneous.

The Effects of Noncontingent Reinforcement with Alternative Oral Stimulation in the Treatment of Rumination
Regina A. Carroll, John T. Rapp, Tasha M. Rieck, and Brooke N. Siewert

We evaluated the effects of noncontingent reinforcement on rumination exhibited by a young boy with autism. Specifically, the percentage of time the boy engaged in post-meal rumination was measured under conditions when he did and did not have noncontingent, continuous access to alternative oral stimulation via a chew toy. The results show that post-meal rumination was lower when the participant had noncontingent access to a chew toy than during baseline conditions (i.e. when the toy was absent). The results of a follow-up assessment suggest that the chew toy continued to compete with rumination after 8 months of intervention. These results are briefly discussed in terms of functionally matched stimulation and motivating operations.

Social Characteristics of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Across Classroom Settings
Jennifer Lyons, M. Catherine Cappadocia, and Jonathan A. Weiss

The current study examinded the differences in social characteristcs between student with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) primarily educated in full inclusion and non full inclusion classrooms. One hundred and forty six parents of children with ASD completed a questionnaire regarding the social experiences of their child. Results indicate that after controlling for severity of disability and age, higher social competence was related to placement in full inclusion classrooms. Regression analyses indicate that ASD severity predicted social competence and quality of friendships, and age and problem behaviour predicted the number of friends outside school. Implications for future studies are discussed.


Media Reviews

Tying Your Own Showes
Ann Fudge Schormans, Shira Avni, Petra Tolley, Chris Tolley, Adele Iannantuono

One Film, Four Perspectives Ann Fudge Schormans Tying Your Own Shoes Shira Avni An Insider's Review Petra Tolley A Review Chris Tolley Raising a Son with Down Syndrome: Drawing Inspiration from Four Artists and Their Expression of "Special Needs" Adele Iannantuono