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 20 Number 1 – General Issue


The Effects of Direct Instruction Flashcards and a Model, Lead, Test Procedure on Letter Recognition for Three Preschool Students with Developmental Disabilities
Sarah Bechtolt, T.F. McLaughlin, K. Mark Derby, and Jessieanna Blecher

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of Direct Instruction (DI) flashcards with its model, lead, and test procedure for teaching three preschool students with developmental disabilities to recognize the letters in their names. The study was conducted in a self-contained special education preschool classroom located in the Pacific Northwest. The number of correct letters in a students name was the dependent variable. The number of letters varied because each participants first and last name contained differing numbers of letters. During baseline, the frequency of correct letter recognition was low for all three participants. When DI flashcards with model, lead, and test error correction was in effect, letter recognition increased for each participant. One participant (Participant 3) reached mastery with his first name letters quite early in this condition, and then was taught to recognize the letters in his last name. The other two participants demonstrated large increases in letter recognition over the course of the investigation. The procedures employed in this study were easy to implement and cost efficient.

Challenges in the Completion of Daily Living Activities in Residential Settings
Dany Lussier-Desrochers, Yves Lachapelle, and Martin Caouette

For people with intellectual disabilities, access to autonomous residential settings means access to independence and self-reliance. Unfortunately, access is hampered by the lack of skills and competencies required to carry out certain daily living activities. To date, little information is available concerning the challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities in the performance of these activities. The goal of this study is to make an initial assessment of the needs and challenges faced by these individuals. This qualitative research relies on a triangulation of data from people with intellectual disabilities, service providers, and family members. A total of 56 people participated in 11 discussion groups. Through an analytical questioning analysis, we were able to categorize the challenges into eight spheres of activity.

Situation scolaire de la fratrie des eleves identifies avec un trouble envahissant du developpement
Annie Simard et Nathalie Poirier

This study aims to provide the proportion of brothers and sisters of pupils with PDD who are experiencing school difficulties and who require (1) the establishment of an individualized education plan (IEP), (2) the identification of a difficulty code and (3) the implementation of services. To do so, the information of 130 students with PDD who have at least a brother or a sister as well as their siblings data (n = 152) were collected. Results reveal that 30.9% of siblings have an IEP and 16.5% have a difficulty code. In great majority, they all benefit from support measures.

Examining the Effectiveness of Intensive Behavioural Intervention in Children with Autism Aged 6 and Older
Ksusha Blacklock, Adrienne Perry, and Jennifer Dunn Geier

The effectiveness of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) was examined in 68 children who entered Ontario's public IBI programs at the age of 6 or older. The childrens age at the start of IBI ranged from 6 to 13 (M = 7 years 3 months). The sample was quite heterogeneous with IQ and adaptive scores ranging from the very impaired to the average range. Results indicated that the children, as a group, did not show statistically significant gains in IQ (Time 1 M = 43, Time 2 M = 45), adaptive level (Time 1 M = 54, Time 2 M = 60), or cognitive rate of development (Time 1 M = .43, Time 2 M = .57), which differs from findings in younger children. The adaptive rate of development almost doubled, a significant increase from Time 1 (.34) to Time 2 (.62). Some children displayed clinically significant gains, particularly in adaptive behaviour. Initial IQ and adaptive scores were significantly correlated with all outcome variables, and age was less strongly related. Children aged 6 to 8 had more variable outcomes, while older children displayed uniformly poor outcomes. These results have clinical and policy implications for appropriate service selection for older children.

Do Symmetric and Generalized Matching-to-Sample Skills Facilitate Choosing preferred Items during Preference Assessments using pictures for People with Developmental Disabilities
Leslie M.E. Thorne, C.T. Yu, Carly Chand, and Garry L. Martin

We identified two groups of participants: one who could indicate their preferences using both objects and pictures (Picture Group, n = 9) and the other who could indicate their preferences using objects but not pictures (Object Group, n = 11). We compared the two groupss performance on five discriminations: (a) object-picture matching and (b) its symmetry, picture-object matching; (c) generalized object-picture matching and (d) its symmetry, generalized picture-object matching; and (e) generalized identity picture-picture matching. The Picture Group performed significantly better than the Object Group on four of the five tasks (p < .01). Findings also suggest that the effectiveness of picture preference assessment may be associated with the ability to perform generalized matching.

Socioaffective Competencies of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Child Care Settings
Melina Rivard, Claudel Parent-Boursier, Amelie Terroux, and Celine Mercier

The socioaffective competencies of one hundred and fifty children with autism spectrum disorders in regular child care environments were examined. The participants severity of autism symptoms, intellectual functioning, and adaptive behaviours were evaluated and then analyzed in relation to their levels of socio-affective competencies, as perceived by their early childhood educators. The results showed that 60% of participants presented socioaffective competencies within the norm of their typically developing peers. The profiles of the participants who presented lower socioaffective competencies (in the clinical range) were compared to the profiles of those who had higher socioaffective competencies (in the average range). Higher severity of autism symptoms, lower IQ, and lower adaptive behaviour were associated with lower levels of social adaptation.

Predictors of Advocacy in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Grace Ewles, Tessen Cllifford, and Patricia Minnes

The purpose of the study was to investigate the predictors of advocacy in parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. The role of advocacy as it relates to stressors, resources, and perceptions was explored using the Double ABCX model as a theoretical framework. A total of 28 participants were included. Correlation and mediated regression analyses were used to examine the relationships among variables within the theoretical framework. Results show that use of maladaptive coping strategies was a significant predictor of current levels of advocacy, which suggests that advocacy may itself be an active coping strategy for parents. Implications of the results and directions for future research are discussed.

Relatedness of Auditory Instructions is Important for Motor Performance in Persons with Down Syndrome
Shannon D.R. Ringenbach, Cameron Bonertz, and Brian D.V. Maraj

Participants with Down syndrome (DS), and typical chronological and mental age-matched (MA) participants, completed a three movement sequence in response to visual (e.g., illumination of objects), verbal (e.g., name of objects), directly related auditory (e.g., sound of objects), and indirectly related auditory (e.g., different tones for each object) instructions. Our results indicated that participants with DS and the MA group were slowest and made the most errors in the indirectly related auditory condition indicating that the amount of meaning associated with the method of instruction is an important determinant of motor performance in persons with DS and young children. These results demonstrate the importance of auditory stimulus and response compatibility for motor performance, especially in persons with low mental age.

Evaluation of a Tester Evaluation Form for the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities - Revised
Nardeen Awadalla, Ashley L. Boris, Jade K. Wightman, Morena Miljkovic, Lauren Kaminski, Toby L. Martin, Garry L. Martin, and C.T. Yu

The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities Revised (ABLA‑R) is used to assess the learning ability of individuals with developmental disabilities. To ensure that testers administer the ABLA‑R with accuracy, Martin, Martin, Yu, Thomson and DeWiele (2011) created an ABLA‑R tester evaluation form (ABLA‑R TEF). We evaluated the reliability and validity of the ABLA‑R TEF. In Phase 1, three ABLA‑R experts rated each item on the ABLA‑R TEF with a mean of 6.7 on a 7‑point scale, demonstrating high face validity. In Phase 2, two trained observers obtained high mean interobserver agreement of 93.9% using the ABLA‑R TEF for live scoring of testers performances while they administered the ABLA‑R. In Phase 3, the ABLA‑R TEF scores of testers performances, before and after receiving training on applying the ABLA‑R, were significantly different. In Phase 4, the ABLA‑R TEF scores of testers were significantly correlated with subjective ratings of the testers by ABLA‑R experts, demonstrating high concurrent validity. Our research indicates that the ABLA‑R TEF is a valid and reliable tool for assessing the quality of an ABLA‑R assessment.

The Relative Difficulty of ABLA Level 2 and Two-Position Discriminations for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: A Pilot Study
Jennifer L. Sloan, Toby L. Martin, Garry L. Martin, C.T. Yu, Sayada Kulsoom, and Colleen Murphy

The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) assesses the ease or difficulty with which individuals with intellectual disabilities are able to learn a simple imitation and five two-choice discriminations, referred to as levels. During ABLA Level 2, referred to as a position discrimination (Kerr, Meyerson, & Flora, 1977), the client is presented with a yellow can always on the left and a smaller red box always on the right, and the correct response is to place an irregularly shaped piece of foam into the container on the left (the yellow can). With this task a client can learn to make a correct response based on position, colour, shape, or size cues, or some combination of these. The current study evaluated the relative difficulty of ABLA Level 2 and two additional types of position discriminations. The second type of task was similar to ABLA Level 2, except that it used identical containers, and thus contained both relative and absolute position cues, but not shape, colour, or size cues. The third type of task was similar to ABLA Level 2; however, it incorporated identical containers that varied in their absolute positions, which required a relative position discrimination to arrive at the correct response. In two experiments that each used a single-subject design with replication across three participants who passed ABLA Level 2 but failed all higher levels, the results demonstrated that there was no consistent difference in difficulty between the three types of tasks.


Brief Report

A Further Examination of the DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder Criteria in Practice
Azin Taheri, Adrienne Perry, and David C. Factor

Taheri and Perry (2012) previously reported that only 62% of children aged 2-12 years diagnosed with autistic disorder (AD) or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) using DSM‑IV-TR criteria met DSM‑5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of the present study was to replicate and extend these findings in a different sample of older individuals with lower cognitive and adaptive skills (n = 22; age range, 5-19 years). Only 55% of the sample met the DSM‑5 criteria for ASD; this included 69% of those who had an original DSM‑IV-TR diagnosis of AD, and only 17% (one child) with an original diagnosis of PDD‑NOS. Those groups who met DSM‑5 criteria had significantly greater autism severity, lower full scale IQ, and lower adaptive behaviour scores. Inter-rater agreement results showed comparable percentage agreement for individual criteria for both DSM‑IV-TR and DSM‑5 criteria.



Exercise as a Treatment in Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Kristina Janicas

Physical exercise is often a neglected determinant of good mental and physical health and its role should not be underestimated in health promotion for people with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD). The complex health issues associated with individuals who have IDD increases the risk of suffering from mental health and/or chronic disease issues. Treatment of the myriad of physical and or mental health problems may lead to polypharmacy and may include the use of psychotropic medications. Psychotropic medications for treatment of mental illness can be associated with additional health risks like obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. These issues can most simply be countered with, or at least ameliorated by, a carefully-designed, goal-oriented exercise regime based on simple physical activity. Furthermore, if exercise can reduce the use of psychotropics and benefit the health and wellness of the individual, it should be further researched and implemented consistently as a lifestyle intervention.



Correspondence Introduction
Maire Percy

Opinion - The Sex Offender Freeze Frame Treatment Technique: A Comment on Larin (2013)
Angie L. Nethercott and Pamela M. Yates

Response to "Opinion - The Sex Offender Freeze Frame Treatment Technique: A Comment on Larin (2103)"
Mark Larin