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Journal: Research in developmental disabilities


Although people with intellectual disability (ID) and people with dementia have high drug prescription rates, there is a lack of studies investigating drug use among those with concurrent diagnoses of ID and dementia.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Prescription drug, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, PDD-NOS, Antipsychotic


EDS-HT is a connective tissue disorder characterized by large inter-individual differences in the clinical presentation, complicating diagnosis and treatment. We aim to describe the clinical heterogeneity and to investigate whether differences in the symptom profile are also reflected as disparity in functional impairment and pain experience. In this study, 78 patients were asked to describe their symptoms due to EDS-HT. Next, a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed using the Jaccard measure of similarity to assess whether subgroups could be distinguished based on the symptoms reported. This analysis yielded 3 clusters of participants with distinct complaint profiles. The key differences were found in the domain of non-musculoskeletal complaints, which was significantly larger in cluster 2. Furthermore, cluster 2 was characterized by a worse physical and psychosocial health, a higher pain severity and a larger pain interference in daily life. The results emphasize that non-musculoskeletal symptoms are an important complication of EDS-HT, as the number of these complaints was found to be a significant predictor for both functional health status (SIP) and pain experience (MPI). In conclusion, this study confirms that EDS-HT is a heterogeneous entity and encourages the clinician to be more aware of the large variety of EDS-HT symptoms, in order to improve disease recognition and to establish more tailored treatment strategies.

Concepts: Cluster analysis, Disease, Collagen, Heterogeneity, Marfan syndrome, Connective tissue, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Hypermobility


The aim of this study was to assess the motor profile of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), combined type.

Concepts: Attention, Educational psychology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Hyperactivity


Difficulties in reading comprehension are common in children and adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The current study aimed at investigating the relation between sustained attention and reading comprehension among adolescents with and without ADHD. Another goal was to examine the impact of two manipulations of the text on the efficiency of reading comprehension: Spacing (standard- vs. double-spacing) and Type of presentation (computer screen vs. hard copy). Reading comprehension of two groups of adolescents (participants with ADHD and normal controls) was assessed and compared in four different conditions (standard printed, spaced printed, standard on computer screen, spaced on computer screen). In addition, participants completed a visual sustained attention task. Significant differences in reading comprehension and in sustained attention were obtained between the two groups. Also, a significant correlation was obtained between sustained attention and reading comprehension. Moreover, a significant interaction was revealed between presentation-type, spacing and level of sustained attention on reading comprehension. Implications for reading intervention and the importance of early assessment of attention functioning are discussed.

Concepts: Attention, Educational psychology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Reading comprehension, Learning disability


This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of a proposed occupational therapy home program (OTHP) for children with intellectual disabilities (ID). Children with ID were randomly and equally assigned to OTHP or to no OTHP groups. The primary outcome measures were Canadian Occupational Performance, Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Second Edition, and The Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment scores at 10 and 20 weeks. The 20-week OTHP produced significant difference in fine motor function, activity participation, and parent satisfaction with performance, compared to those of no OTHP. Pediatricians can advise families to implement 20 weeks of OTHP with an average 15min per session to facilitate functional changes of children with ID.

Concepts: Medicine, Randomness, Motor skill, Canadian model of occupational performance, Session


Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have deficits in working memory, but little is known about the everyday memory of these children in real-life situations. We investigated the everyday memory function in children with DCD, and explored the specific profile of everyday memory across different domains. Nineteen children with DCD and 19 typically developing (TD) children participated in the study. Their everyday memory performance was evaluated using the Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test for Children, which showed that 52.6% of the children with DCD had everyday memory deficits. The overall everyday memory scores of the DCD group were significantly lower than those of the controls, particularly in the verbal and visual memory domains. Pearson correlation analysis indicated significant associations between verbal intelligence and memory scores. Analysis of covariance with verbal intelligence as a covariate showed no significant differences between groups in memory scores. Mediator analysis supported the notion that everyday memory deficits in children with DCD were fully mediated through verbal intelligence. We provide evidence of everyday memory deficits in most of the children with DCD, and hypothesize that language abilities are their underlying cause. The clinical implications of these findings and recommendations for additional research are discussed.

Concepts: Psychology, Memory, Child, Developmental psychology, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Covariance and correlation, Analysis of variance, Karl Pearson


Multiple measures of health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disability (ID) and the general Victorian population were compared using representative population level data. The sample consisted of adults with ID (N=897) and the general Victorian population (N=34,168) living in the state of Victoria in Australia. Proxy respondents were interviewed on behalf of people with ID, while respondents from the general Victorian population were interviewed directly. The data were weighted to reflect the age/sex/geographic distribution of the population. Results revealed that adults with ID reported higher prevalence of poor social determinants of health, behavioural risk factors, depression, diabetes, poor or fair health. A higher proportion of people with ID reported blood pressure and blood glucose checks, while a lower proportion reported cervical and breast cancer screening, compared with the general Victorian population. The survey identified areas where targeted approaches may be undertaken to improve the health outcomes of people with ID and provide an important understanding of the health and wellbeing of these Victorians.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Breast cancer, Diabetes mellitus, Demography, Blood sugar, Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victorian era


As electronic learning (e-learning) becomes increasingly popular in education worldwide, learning technology (LT) has been applied in various learning environments and activities to promote meaningful, efficient, and effective learning. LT has also been adopted by researchers and teacher-practitioners in the field of special education, but as yet little review-based research has been published. This review research thus carefully examined the trends of LT implementations in special education, providing a comprehensive analysis of 26 studies published in indexed journals in the past five years (2008-2012). Two research questions were addressed: (a) What are the major research aims, methodologies, and outcomes in these studies of implementing LT in the field of special education? and (b) What types of LT are mainly used with special education students, and for what kinds of students? Major findings include that examining the learning effectiveness of LT using was the most common research purpose (75%); researchers primarily relied on experimental studies (46%, 12 studies), followed by interviews and questionnaires (19%, 5 studies). Moreover, the most common use of LT was computer-assisted technology (such as web-based mentoring, educational computer games, laptop computers) in special education; studies investigating the use of LT with mentally disabled students were more than those with physically disabled ones. It is expected that the findings of this work and their implications will serve as valuable references with regard to the use of LT with special education students.

Concepts: Education, Research, Educational psychology, Developmental disability, Disability, Personal computer, History of education, Special education


It has been consistently reported that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show considerable handwriting difficulties, specifically relating to accurate and consistent letter formation, and maintaining appropriate letter size. The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying factors that contribute to these difficulties, specifically relating to motor control. We examined the integrity of fundamental handwriting movements and contributions of neuromotor noise in 26 children with ASD aged 8-13 years (IQ>75), and 17 typically developing controls. Children wrote a series of four cursive letter l’s using a graphics tablet and stylus. Children with ASD had significantly larger stroke height and width, more variable movement trajectory, and higher movement velocities. The absolute level of neuromotor noise in the velocity profiles, as measured by power spectral density analysis, was significantly higher in children with ASD; relatively higher neuromotor noise was found in bands >3Hz. Our findings suggest that significant instability of fundamental handwriting movements, in combination with atypical biomechanical strategies, contribute to larger and less consistent handwriting in children with ASD.

Concepts: Spectral density, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, PDD-NOS, Sociological and cultural aspects of autism, Spectrum


This experimental study aimed to determine the effect of practicing a position matching task with (mirror) visual feedback of the less-impaired arm on the matching accuracy of the impaired arm in children and adolescents with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy. Practice consisted of 40 trials of bimanual target matching, where one group received regular visual feedback and a second group received mirror visual feedback of the less-impaired arm. On three occasions (pre, post, and after a 1-week-retention) position sense (matching accuracy measured as the endpoint error in cm) of the impaired arm was tested with a unimanual and bimanual matching task, performed without any visual information of either hand. Matching accuracy of the impaired arm was better in the post-test than in the pre-test, but this improvement was similar for both practice groups. In the retention-test, accuracy had returned to pre-test-level, which might be ascribed to the short duration of the practice period. These outcomes suggest that practicing a matching task with visual feedback of the less-impaired arm might help to improve the matching accuracy of the impaired arm in individuals with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Symptoms, Sensory system, Cerebral palsy, Disability, Audio feedback, The Practice