Intellectual Disability and Challenging Behavior


Hudson, A. M., Matthews, J. M., Gavidia-Payne, S. T., Cameron, C. A., Mildon, R. L., Radler, G. A., & Nankervis, K. L. (2003). Evaluation of an intervention system for parents of children with intellectual disability and challenging behavior. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47, 238-249.

Present research examined three different methods of delivering Signposts materials to parents in order to decrease the child’s problem behavior as well as to improve the mothers’ adjustment level. Signposts materials included instructions in teaching skills to children with intellectual disabilities and dealing with their children’s behavior problems by applying functional assessment. Three methods of deliverance of this system were self-directed, telephone, and group-support methods. The study also questioned the extent to which the therapist’s participation influences the results of the parent training. 

One hundred ten families participated in the study, 46 of which were meeting as a group with the therapist conducting the training session. Thirteen parents were following the manual independently, however, they received phone-calls from the therapist for on-going consultations. Twenty-nine families were working with the Signposts materials independently without professional support. Twenty-seven families were used as a control group for the study. 

Pre and post-tests were administered to parents in all groups and compared with the control group responses. After the program was completed, data showed that there was less stress reported by the parents that belonged to the experimental groups. They also were accomplishing their role as parents better and felt that their needs were met. All three groups were satisfied with the Signposts system. Behavior problem decrease occurred in children of parents who used self-directed methods in applying the Signposts system as much as in children of parents receiving support form the therapist. However, many of the parents from the self-directed group were not able to complete the program. Therefore, parents need therapist support in managing their children’s behavior problems to be able to finish the Signposts program.