Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common and treatable. There is extensive research on people of average intelligence yet little on individuals with developmental disabilities.
We report two people with intellectual disability (ID) who experienced PTSD. The relevance of their developmental difficulties, social and communication profiles, attentional skills, and causes of these, to their presentations is discussed.
Both individuals have fragile X syndrome and severe ID. One has Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - 4th Edition (DSM-IV) autistic disorder; the other DSM-IV attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. They experienced developmental and psychological regressions, new challenging behaviours and exacerbations of existing ones coincident with emotional trauma. PTSD symptoms and phenomena were identifiable despite intellectual and communicatory impairments.
Presentation of PTSD is influenced by degree and cause of ID, social circumstances, social and communicatory skills, nature and timing of traumatic experience and subsequent management. The paucity of literature suggests it is missed frequently in individuals with ID who risk having problems misattributed to other causes with potential for inappropriate interventions.
"The presentation of PTSD is influenced by the degree and cause of ID, social circumstances , social and communication skills, the nature and timing of the traumatic experience and its subsequent management. The paucity of literature suggests that PTSD is frequently undiagnosed in individuals with ID and may be misattributed to other causes, with the risk of inappropriate interventions (Turk et al. 2005). There is great diversity of functional abilities among individuals with autism, and ASDs make up one of the largest diagnostic subgroups within the population of individuals with ID. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The literature offers no descriptions of the adaptive outcomes of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after natural
disasters. Aim of this study was to evaluate the adaptive behaviour of participants with ASD followed for 1year after their
exposure to the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila (Italy) compared with an unexposed peer group with ASD, by administering the Italian
form of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS) at baseline, 6months and 1year after the earthquake. Exposed participants
declined dramatically in their adaptive behaviour during the first months after the earthquake (p<0.01 for all VABS dimensions). However, immediate intensive post-disaster intervention allowed children and adolescents
with autism showing a trend towards partial recovery of adaptive functioning.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder–Post-traumatic stress disorder–Adaptive behaviour–Post-disaster adaptation–Intensive behavioural intervention–Resiliency
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2011; 42(6):1-7. DOI:10.1007/s10803-011-1323-9 · 3.34 Impact Factor
"Cognitive limitations have been shown to be a significant risk factor for the onset of PTSD after traumatic events, for children and adolescents with a diagnosis of PDD. (Turk et al, 2005) Autistic children have a limited capacity to express affect verbally and may do so behaviorally (Howlin and Clements, 1995). When highly anxious, aggressive behaviors can increase, resulting in a " spiral effect " whereby additional medications are prescribed with little if any benefit. "
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