Florida Partners in Crisis
2011 Annual Conference and Justice Institute
Kim Spence-Cochran, Ph.D.
Center for Autism & Related Disabilities
University of Central Florida (CARD)
Problem solving, impulse
restraint, understanding
behavior of others
Hearing, speech, language
motor activities;
planning; balance;
muscles for
speaking
Higher mental functions;
movement perception;
behavioral reactions
Relay station; primitive
functions for survival
( ex. breathing, heart rate)
Right Inferior Frontal
Gyrus = Miror Neuron
System (MNS) =
social imitation;
empathy
Core Deficits of PDD:
Limited
Interests
Communication
Issues
Social Skills
Communication Difficulties:
• Unable to provide ID or
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pertinent information
Appear “guilty”
May not respond to verbal
commands
May appear
argumentative/noncompliant/stubborn
Unable to answer
questions in a timely
fashion
Ask questions as a form of
answering
Say things that are
inappropriate or have no
meaning
Communication Difficulty Interventions:
• Speak slowly and clearly
• Do not use slang,
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innuendo, idioms, or
rhetorical questions
Do not insist on eye
contact
Don’t rely on body cues
or gesturing
Frame a clear
expectation(s)
Least Dangerous
Assumption (LDA)
Core Social Skills
Deficits:
• Lack of global
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understanding
Difficulty with rules
of engagement
Lack of eye contact
Lack of reciprocity
Personal space
issues/poor
boundaries
Inappropriate
expression (verbal,
gestures, etc.)
Sensory Issues
Social Difficulty Interventions:
• Decrease visual or auditory or
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tactile stimulus
Non-emotional response to
inappropriate or socially
awkward comments or
statements
Ask for the person to show or
tell what they want/need
Clear feedback regarding
inappropriate behavior
Establish clear boundaries if
needed – use proximity control
Avoid touching if possible
Least Dangerous Assumption
(LDA)
Limited Interests Deficits:
• Handle items in a manner
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that appears suspicious
Unusual movements that
appear suspicious (rocking,
finger flapping, twirling
items, etc.)
Perseveration on routine,
topic, or an item(s)
Behavior that resembles a
person who is chemically
altered
Attachment to unusual
items
Limited Interest Difficulty Interventions:
• Attempt to ascertain item or
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topic
Remember – topics of interest
may be disturbing and/or
unusual try not to respond to
the item or topic
If possible – do not remove
the item or discourage
vocalizations about the item or
topic
De-rail – if possible – try to redirect with an alternate object
or item
Utilize proximity control
Use restraint as a last resort
Least Dangerous Assumption
(LDA)
Mental Retardation
Awareness Training
Kim Spence-Cochran, Ph.D.
Center For Autism and Related Disabilities
University of Central Florida
What is an Intellectual Disability?
•Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by
significant limitations both in intellectual
functioning and in adaptive behavior.
•This disability originates before age 18.
•Individuals with ID have global problems with
conceptual, social, and practical skills application and
understanding.
(2009 American Association on Intellectual &
Developmental Disabilities)
Intellectual Functioning
• Mental Capability = Reasoning,
planning, solving problems,
thinking abstractly,
comprehending complex ideas,
learning quickly, learning from
experience, etc.
• Standardized Tests to determine
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
• By definition people with ID have
an average IQ that is at least 2
standard deviations below the
mean
Adaptive Behavior
• Skills (3 subsets of specific
•
skills) measured by
standardized Tests
Collection of three skill types:
conceptual, social, and
practical skills
– Conceptual Skills = receptive &
expressive language and reading
& writing
– Social Skills = interpersonal
skills, gullibility, following rules
– Practical Skills = eating,
dressing, mobility, taking
medication, occupational skills
Intellectual Disability versus
Developmental Disability
Developmental Disabilities (DD)are
defined as chronic disabilities that can be
cognitive or physical or both – these
disabilities must appear before age 22
Intellectual disability (ID) forms a subset
within the larger universe of
developmental disabilities (DD) – these
boundaries are often blurred
ID disabilities encompass the “cognitive”
part of a person’s disability
Etiology of Intellectual Disability
• Caused by DD, syndromes, genetic issues,
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health problems, social factors, educational
factors, & environmental factors – over 200
documented causes
Over 7.5 million Americans have some form of
intellectual disability (roughly 3% of the
population)
1 in 10 families are affected
Comprises one of the largest disability groups
Can not be cured
ID is not a mental illness
ID is not a disease
Characteristics of Intellectual
Disabilities
• Language or behavior
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may be delayed or
immature
Physical abilities may
be delayed or
immature
Difficulty following oral
directions
Difficulty understanding
the environment (big
picture)
Characteristics of Intellectual
Disabilities
• Social abilities may be
delayed or immature
• Difficulty with
“relatedness”
• Overall “slowness”
• Physical characteristics
including stunted
growth, odd-shaped
head and/or hands,
feet, or stature
Implications for Law
Enforcement:
• Say what they think
• May easily confess, even
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others want to hear
Have difficulty describing
facts for details (recall)
Not want disability
noticed
VERY susceptible to
coercion
Confusion about who is
responsible for actions
though innocent
Inappropriate smiling or
non-verbal cues that
resemble a lack of
remorse
Strategies for First Responders:
• Speak directly to the
person
• Keep sentences short
• Use simple language
• Refrain from the use
of slang or idioms
• Use concrete terms
• Break steps into small
pieces
• Use pictures when
possible (visual supports)
Thanks for Attending!
Kim Spence-Cochran, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 162202
Orlando, FL 162202
Office: 407.823.6022
Toll-free: 888.558.1908
Cell: 321-212-8997
Email: [email protected]
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Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Autism Awareness