Intellectual Disability (Formerly: Mental Retardation)


Integrative treatment

Treatment Summary: Integrative treatment is a multidimensional approach used to treat people with intellectual disability. The treatment incorporates different dimensions that include: psychological, biological, behavioral and social. The first step is to assess the patient's levels on each of the dimensions to understand the mechanisms of the disorder and the patient's needs; this step needs to be done with cooperation of social workers, psychiatrist, psychologists, pedagogues and family members. Once the people who are directly involved in the patient's care and who are close to him/her work for an integrative diagnosis the information is used to plan the methods of treatment. The methods can include interacting with the patient at his/her level of emotional development, educating and informing the people in the patients environment in order to secure optimal adaptation, providing psychotherapy and training to help the patient activate their capacity to solve problems and to help them adapt to different circumstances they may encounter at their environment, and lastly administering psychotropic medication.Applying therapeutic methods through the different dimensions is considered important; because people who suffer mental retardation can benefit more from a comprehensive approach that does not focus only on treating the symptoms, but also focuses towards restoring the mental well being

  • Reference: Dosen, A. (2007). Integrative treatment in persons with intellectual disability and mental health problems. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51(1), 66-74. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006868.x.
  • Submitter: N/A

Positive Practice Overcorrection

Treatment Summary: After identifying the behavior that needs to be modified the individual will practice the correct forms of the behavior with help first and eventually through verbal cues. If an individual were "finger flicking" then you would place their fingers and hands in a stationary position and hold it there for a period of three minutes every time they exhibited the behavior for several weeks. Then you could decrease the amount of time to a two minute period then eventually to one minute. Over time, you would start to shadow them instead of physically placing their hands in the position and ultimately using verbal cues whenever the behavior was exhibited.

  • Reference: Luicelli, J., Evans, T., (1987). Assessing pharmacological and contingency management interventions with mentally retarded adolescents in a residential treatment program. Behavioral Residential Treatment, 3(3), 139-152.
  • Submitter: Melva Terpstra

Behavioral Modification

Treatment Summary: Behavioral modification can be applied to encourage positive behavioral through exaggerated praises and positive reinforcement. Individuals are given a 1 step task with a lot of visual Q's each time the individual has completed one tasks, exaggerated praise is used before adding another task. Increase steps bigger and more complex. Behavioral modification is used to shape individual's behavior to be more independent and build skills for adulthood.

  • Reference: Dombeck, M., & Reynolds, T.(2006). Mental Retardation and Applied Behavioral Analysis: Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disabilities)
  • Submitter: Vanessa Carter

Reducing Tongue Protrusion and Head Tilting

Treatment Summary: Socially inappropriate behavior can have negative social engagement effects on persons with severe profound intellectual disabilities. To curb repetitive tongue protrusion and excessive head tilting, an automatic prompting and social approval system was developed. Each participant was given a Walkman which sounded an encouraging prompt to a) keep the tongue in the mouth, or b)to keep the head upright. These prompts occurred automatically every 30 - 60 seconds. A person would also provide praise for the participant every 60 - 120 seconds if the inappropriate behavior was not present. If behavior was present, praise was delayed until 10 seconds had elapsed without the behavior occurring. It is unknown if both components of the strategy (the Walkman prompts and personal praise) would be needed long-term to continue the high level of performance. This strategy is very practical using affordable and simple technology. The positive results of this study was statistically significant at the p < .01 level for both participants.

  • Reference: Lancioni, G.E., Singh, N.N., O'Reilly, M.F., Sigafoos, J., Didden, R., & Pichierri, S. (2010). Automatic prompting and positive attention to reduce tongue protrusion and head tilting by two adults with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. Behavior Modification, 34(4), 299-309. doi: 10.1177/0145445510372751
  • Submitter: Tracey Eddy
Virtual Advisor