Advances in Intellectual Disabilities Research and Practice: During and beyond This Testing Time

A special issue of Disabilities (ISSN 2673-7272).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 24027

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Janet Finlayson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nursing and Community Health, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK
Interests: improving the health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Stuart Todd
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales, Wales, UK
Interests: death; dying and bereavement in relation to people with intellectual disabilities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

People with intellectual disabilities are some of the most vulnerable members of society, as many require ongoing support in order to participate in all aspects of their daily lives and society. Over the past few decades, advances in research and practice have led to significant improvements in our ability to meet the health and wellbeing, educational, home, and social needs of people with learning disabilities and their supporters. Vigilance is required in order to ensure that these advances continue to build and positively improve lives, particularly during and beyond this testing time, with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of this Special Issue is to attract papers that present advances in research and/or practice for people with intellectual disabilities, and their supporters, that have particular relevance to building the evidence base during and beyond this testing time. We encourage and welcome submissions across a broad range of topics and study types.

Dr. Janet Finlayson
Prof. Dr. Stuart Todd
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Disabilities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • intellectual disabilities
  • supporters
  • health
  • education
  • social participation
  • rights
  • COVID-19
  • home support

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 578 KiB  
Article
Putting a Spotlight on Validators of Easy-to-Read Content
Disabilities 2022, 2(1), 1-18; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities2010001 - 21 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2231
Abstract
Easy-to-Read content results from applying text simplification principles to make information accessible for persons with reading and learning difficulties. While both the creation process and simplification principles have gained the interest of scholars and the general public in the past years, the role [...] Read more.
Easy-to-Read content results from applying text simplification principles to make information accessible for persons with reading and learning difficulties. While both the creation process and simplification principles have gained the interest of scholars and the general public in the past years, the role of validators is still less visible compared with that of writers or translators. This paper sought to put a spotlight on validators by answering the questions of who these professionals are, what tasks they take on, and how they have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills for the job. In doing so, it investigated a subset of the data about validators’ demographical and educational backgrounds and current activity collected in an online survey launched within the innovative framework of the Erasmus+ project Train2Validate. Full article
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12 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
Advancing Access to Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability in the United States
Disabilities 2021, 1(4), 438-449; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040030 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5629
Abstract
Due to changes in legislation and policy in the United States, higher education has become more available to people with intellectual disability (ID). Currently, over 6000 students with ID are enrolled in 310 colleges and universities. In the past decade, the federal government [...] Read more.
Due to changes in legislation and policy in the United States, higher education has become more available to people with intellectual disability (ID). Currently, over 6000 students with ID are enrolled in 310 colleges and universities. In the past decade, the federal government has invested over 100 million dollars in a model demonstration program aimed at institutions of higher education to create, expand, or enhance high-quality, inclusive higher education experiences to support positive outcomes for individuals with ID. This article will describe the impetus and impact of this funding as well as related changes in policy and practice. With the emergence of these opportunities, a field of research has emerged, offering new knowledge about what higher education can offer to students with ID as well as the positive impact these students have on their peers, professors, and campus communities. We have also begun to see documentation of more long-term impacts of higher education on students’ employment, independent living outcomes, and life satisfaction. By describing these policy, practice, and research developments, this article will provide readers with a better understanding of the background, current status, and future needs of the field of inclusive higher education for people with ID in the United States and potential takeaways for similar stakeholders in other countries. Full article
18 pages, 1487 KiB  
Article
University Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Evaluation of a Training Experience in Spain
Disabilities 2021, 1(4), 388-405; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040027 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3106
Abstract
Despite the substantial increase in the access of people with disabilities to higher education, university institutions continue to be an exclusive environment for people with intellectual disabilities. This paper aims to present a training programme for the employment and university inclusion of young [...] Read more.
Despite the substantial increase in the access of people with disabilities to higher education, university institutions continue to be an exclusive environment for people with intellectual disabilities. This paper aims to present a training programme for the employment and university inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities at the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain, under the title “Training for the employment and autonomous life of people with intellectual disabilities”, which was launched in the academic year 2017–2018 and has already completed four editions. The programme includes a hybrid training system with specific university training oriented towards employment and autonomy together with inclusive training in subjects of various university degrees. The training is provided by interdisciplinary university lecturers together with support staff specialised in intervention with people with intellectual disabilities who come from experienced community associations. Other components of the experience include internships in companies, individualised academic tutoring of students, family accompaniment, and community inclusion with the use of the university residence as accommodation. Cognitive accessibility and new technologies are not lacking as supports in the process. This work shows the assessment of the fundamental actors of this experience during the four years of its development, and as a conclusion, it shows a high overall satisfaction with the programme and the radical change observed in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities after their time at the university. Full article
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11 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Health Profile of Australian Adolescents with Intellectual Disability
Disabilities 2021, 1(4), 377-387; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040026 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2631
Abstract
Background: Data on the health of adolescents with intellectual disability are scarce. This study describes carer-reported symptoms, chronic illnesses, level of functioning, and behaviour among Australian adolescents with intellectual disability. We compare students attending mainstream and special schools. Methods: Cross-sectional questionnaire data were [...] Read more.
Background: Data on the health of adolescents with intellectual disability are scarce. This study describes carer-reported symptoms, chronic illnesses, level of functioning, and behaviour among Australian adolescents with intellectual disability. We compare students attending mainstream and special schools. Methods: Cross-sectional questionnaire data were obtained from a cohort of 592 adolescents (10–21 years) with intellectual disability attending school and living in South-East Queensland, Australia, in May 2007. We analysed data from a subset (176) who completed a health check before visiting their general practitioners. Results: Adolescents had significant health needs, and those in special education schools had worse health than those from mainstream schools. There was a discrepancy between the prevalence of significant psychopathology detected via the short form Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC-P24) and psychiatric conditions reported by carers. Conclusions: Given the significant health needs of this population, carefully designed and targeted programs, potentially including medical visits to these schools, are needed. Full article
14 pages, 292 KiB  
Article
The Behavioural Outcomes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities as Perceived by Parents during the COVID-19 Lockdown
Disabilities 2021, 1(4), 347-360; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040024 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3242
Abstract
The COVID-19 lockdown and closure of schools, clinics, and community-based services put children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities (DDs) at increased risk of negative outcomes. This study aimed to investigate parents’ perceptions of their children’s behavioural outcomes during the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 lockdown and closure of schools, clinics, and community-based services put children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities (DDs) at increased risk of negative outcomes. This study aimed to investigate parents’ perceptions of their children’s behavioural outcomes during the COVID-19 lockdown, parents’ satisfaction with services during this time, and willingness to engage in telehealth. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Ireland. Parents (n = 89) completed an online questionnaire that included the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ-P). Results demonstrated that children with ASD/DDs were vulnerable to negative outcomes including hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, problems with peers and fewer prosocial behaviors. Children’s behavioral outcomes (‘current sample’, n = 89) were also compared with pre-COVID-19 data taken from the Growing Up in Ireland Study (‘GUI sample’, n = 327). The current sample exhibited significantly more behavioral difficulties than the pre-COVID GUI sample (p < 0.001). For the current sample, scores on each of the five SDQ subscales were significantly associated with a total impact score, and parents reported dissatisfaction with support services provided and willingness to engage in behavioral telehealth. Commitment is required to identify barriers to services faced by families in Ireland and to address the need for adapted behavior support services during periods of emergency. Full article
19 pages, 4702 KiB  
Article
The Importance of Accessible Information in Promoting the Inclusion of People with an Intellectual Disability
Disabilities 2021, 1(3), 132-150; https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1030011 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4798
Abstract
People with an intellectual disability experience high levels of social exclusion and a range of health inequalities. Increased inclusion and participation in healthcare decision making have been identified as key to promoting inclusion in health and social care. However, achieving these objectives requires [...] Read more.
People with an intellectual disability experience high levels of social exclusion and a range of health inequalities. Increased inclusion and participation in healthcare decision making have been identified as key to promoting inclusion in health and social care. However, achieving these objectives requires increased recognition of the communication and health literacy needs of individuals with an intellectual disability and consideration of the appropriateness of the information currently provided. In this article, we report the results of a pre-COVID-19 qualitative study exploring the provision and use of accessible information to support the healthcare inclusion of individuals with an intellectual disability. A total of 35 clinicians participated in focus group discussions, and 10 people with intellectual disabilities and 10 carers were interviewed regarding their experiences of using accessible health-related information. Qualitative data analysis using a framework approach highlighted the crucial role of communication partners when using accessible information, deficits in current National Health Service (NHS: UK’s publicly funded health care system) information provision in the UK, and possible broader relevance of accessible resources. The implications of these findings for the provision of accessible information in a post-COVID-19 environment are explored, and recommendations are made for the increased integration and theory-driven research to inform the provision, content, and use of health-related information, especially the provision of online information, in the future. Full article
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