What Can Animal Memory Study Bring to the Assessment of Memory and Cognitive Skills for Intellectual Disability?

Giuliani, Fabienne ; Pernier, Sophie ; Favrod, Jérôme ; Grasset, François ; Schenk, Françoise

In: Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 2009, vol. 21, no. 2, p. 81-92

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    Three case studies are presented to investigate the possibility of evaluating memory and cognitive capacities of severe intellectual disability with attention given to the ecological environment. Two 22-year-old male patients and a 27-year-old male patient, all three with severe intellectual disability with no verbal communication skills, were evaluated with a new and original paradigm adapted to study cognition in humans from experimental paradigms. We developed a test based on animal models to complement the "home” scale of the Adolescent and Adult Psychoeducational Profile (AAPEP), an assessment instrument designed for adolescents and adults with severe developmental disabilities. Results show that the new instrument is helpful, not only to staff members who can better understand the poor performances of their patients in daily life activities but also in the elaboration of individual acquisition plans. These preliminary results demonstrate the interest in developing a larger controlled study and in publishing our procedure