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 3 – General/Research Special Interest Group


Measuring Daily Living Skills in First Nations Communities: Development and Validation of the Adaptive Behaviour Scale for Northern Communities (ABS-NC)
Valerie Temple, Christine Sawanas, and Dawn Brown

A major challenge to the validity and usefulness of many standardized questionnaires for assessing skills and abilities is that they are geared towards life in larger, urban centres and to the dominant western culture. Using such questionnaires with families living in less populous or more remote First Nations communities can result in biased information, a limited understanding, and challenges with building rapport between service providers and the families being served. This study describes the development and preliminary validation of the Adaptive Behaviour Scale for Northern Communities (ABS‑NC). The ABS‑NC is a 110 item, informant-based questionnaire for assessing adults with suspected intellectual disabilities living in smaller, more remote First Nations communities. Its purpose is to provide an adaptive daily living scale that is both useful and acceptable to individuals living in these communities by including more culturally and geographically relevant items and avoiding less relevant items. The ABS‑NC was developed in consultation with a First Nations health agency and tested on 40 individuals living in 17 different First Nations communities in northern Ontario. Results found good internal reliability (Cronbach alphas .87 .98) and evidence of criterion validity (r = .87) when compared to an existing measure of daily living skills. Cut-off scores to assist with identifying deficits in daily living skills were established using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Recommendations for future use and development of the scale are offered.

Developpement des modeles theoriques d'un programme destine e des parents d'enfants presentant un trouble du spectre de l'autisme
Annie Stipanicic, Germain Couture, Christine Rivest, et Myriam Rousseau

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has significantly increased in recent decades. Families of children with ASD face many challenges. In recent years, several programs aiming to support the parents of these children have been developed. Most research on the effectiveness of these programs has reported positive effects. However it is difficult to interpret these results in the absence of an explanatory model linking interventions and effects. In this paper, we present two components of the logic model of a program designed for parents of young children with ASD aiming to improve parental competencies: the theoretical models of intervention and the expected effects. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this type of intervention will guide the evaluation of the implementation and effects of the program. The whole process will allow decision-makers to have reliable data and indicators about the effectiveness of this program, and to provide parents with a quality service that meets their needs for support.

Evaluation of Individual Function-Based Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Obssessive Compulsive Behaviour in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Tricia Vause, Shauna Hoekstra, and Maurice Feldman

Children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but there are few studies evaluating interventions for this comorbidity. This study used a single-case experimental design to test the efficacy of adapted cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with function-based behavioural strategies to treat OCD symptoms in two school-age children with ASD. Time series parent report data and standardized OCD measures revealed clinically significant decreases in OCD symptoms in both children as well as increased family quality of life and high consumer satisfaction. This study suggests that children with ASD may respond well to individualized CBT that incorporates functional assessment and interventions, and adaptations for unique learning styles and behavioural characteristics.

L'intervention comportementale intensive : les services reeus par des enfants ayant un trouble du spectre de l'autisme
Nadia Abouzeid et Nathalie Poirier

This exploratory study describes the experiences of 15 mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder in regards to the intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) services received in rehabilitation centres. The objective was to investigate motherss experiences in regards to the IBI characteristics (program length, waiting period, intensity, earliness of intervention, members of the response team and the context (supervision, intervention, site, complementary services) in which IBI was provided. To achieve this goal, semi structured interviews were held. Mothers experiences showed variability in terms of services as well as differences between IBI programs offered in Quebec and the ones described in the literature. Particular attention should be paid to these discrepancies as they might profoundly affect success of intervention.

Teaching Auditory-Auditory Identity Matching to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Children with Autism: A Pilot Study
Sandra Salem, Toby Martin, Garry Martin, C.T. Yu, Lindsay Dodson, and Jade Wightman

The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) assesses the ease or difficulty with which persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) and children with autism are able to learn a simple imitation and five two-choice discriminations that are hierarchical in difficulty. ABLA Level 6 is a two-choice auditory discrimination. An auditory-auditory identity matching prototype task (AAIM PT) assesses a testee's ability to identify matching sounds. Published research indicates that the AAIM PT is more difficult than ABLA Level 6, and pass/fail performance on ABLA Level 6 and the AAIM PT are predictive of the ease or difficulty with which persons with ID and children with autism are able to learn certain language tasks. It is quite possible that the AAIM PT might be considered as ABLA Level 7. In order to determine if the skills needed to pass AAIM PT are precursors for vocal imitation, a method to teach AAIM must be developed. We therefore developed an experimental procedure for teaching AAIM tasks. In a single-subject AB design with replication within and across one person with ID and two children with autism, all three participants learned two AAIM tasks, and two participants generalized to a third AAIM task. The encouraging results provide a promising starting point for future research on teaching AAIM tasks to persons with ID and children with autism.

La perception de la fratrie sur le trouble du spectre de l'autisme
Jacinthe Vallee-Ouimet et Nathalie Poirier

This study aims to understand sibling perception of a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n = 20) in regards to key components of its development such as diagnosis, health, family, community services, interventions, school, justice and recognition of the disorder. The results reveal positive emotions towards the person with ASD as well as variable acceptance of their brother or sister. Finally, it seems that siblings needs are underestimated which must be taken into account by all clinicians working with families.


Brief Reports

Strengths and Challenges of Children with a Developmental Disability: A Qualitative Analysis of Parent Perceptions
Vanessa Ann Colavita, Nidhi Luthra, and Adrienne Perry

This study examines the perceptions of parents of children aged 3 to 19 with developmental disabilities (including autism spectrum disorder) on their child's strengths and challenges. Qualitative secondary analysis of a sample of 141 parents responses was conducted on the data collected through a survey developed as part of the Great Outcomes for Kids Impacted by Severe Developmental Disabilities (GO4KIDDS) project. The top three meta-themes for strengths were personality characteristics, social personality characteristics, and skills. With respect to challenges, meta-themes related to cognitive communication skills deficits, adaptive skill deficits, and behaviour problems were most common. The findings suggest that parents perceive their children as having positive personalities and characteristics beyond stereotypical assumptions.

Social Inclusion of Ontario Children with Developmental Disabilities in Community Settings
Marilia Carvalho, Adrienne Perry, James Bebko, and Patricia Minnes

This study examined the social inclusion of Ontario children (n = 27), aged 6 to 17, with severe developmental disabilities in community settings, in relation to child characteristics and contextual factors. Results revealed that 70% of children were rated as being moderately to highly socially included. Adaptive Age, Social Age and Mental Age were moderately correlated with social inclusion scores but there was no correlation with language, maladaptive behaviour, or child's age. Inclusion was rated higher in integrated or mixed settings (some typically developing peers available) versus segregated settings and was associated with certain types of play and activities.


Media Review

Liking for Like's Sake - The Commodification of Disability on Facebook
Kirsty Liddiard


Book Review

Asperger Syndrome in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians
Kristina Janicas


RSIG Abstracts