Psychosocial Interventions for Individuals With Intellectual Disability

Psychosocial Interventions for Individuals With Intellectual Disability

Rajesh Jay Sharma (Sunrise Behavioural Health Pty Ltd, Australia) and Jahirul Mullick (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1223-4.ch013

Abstract

People with intellectual disabilities are prone to various challenges in relation to self-care, emotional regulation, and decision making. Sometimes due to their cognitive and adaptive skill limitations, they display challenging behavior that further impacts on their quality of life. This chapter presents the concept of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and a discussion on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in prevention and treatment of challenging behaviors of individuals with intellectual disability. Functional behavior analysis (FBA) and its stages are described with examples for the future practitioners. As ABA has a major contribution in the treatment of challenging behaviors in individuals with intellectual disability, research supported treatment strategies are presented. This chapter also explained strategies for improving the adaptive behaviors of individuals with intellectual disability.
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Introduction

In the recent years, there has been an increased interest and focus on improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities. In the year 2006, the United Nations drafted the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aimed at securing and protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities. As of now, about 160 countries have become signatories of this convention and many countries are working towards making legislations consistent with the CRPD to protect the human rights of individuals with disabilities (UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities, 2015). Among the developed nations, Australia has made it illegal to discriminate people based on their disabilities in 1992 by enacting disability discrimination act (DDA), people with a disability must be treated on the same basis as people without disabilities (Basser, & Jones, 2002). The DDA (1992) has shown positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities particularly in accessing school education (Dempsey, 2003).

Individuals with intellectual disabilities often face increased challenges in self-care, emotional regulation and decision making due to their cognitive and adaptive skill limitations, which further impacts on their quality of life (Emerson, 2001a). A large proportion of population with intellectual disability display several forms of challenging behaviours including aggressive behaviours, self-harm, stereotypical behaviours and sexual misconducts (Crocker, Mercier, Lachapelle, Brunet, Morin & Roy 2006; Emerson et al., 2001b; Poppes, Putten, & Vlaskamp, 2010). Poppes et al. (2010) found a prevalence of self-harm and stereotypical behaviour in 82% of their participants with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) and 45% of their study participants displayed aggressive and destructive behaviours. Challenging behaviour appears to be a central theme in intellectual disability and its treatment. Applied Behaviour Analysis is considered the most science-based prevention and treatment of challenging behaviours as well as improving the adaptive behaviours of individuals with intellectual disability.

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