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Assessment And Treatment Planning For A Young Girl With Suspected Autism

2815 words - 12 pages

1) Purpose and Utility of Psychological Assessment
An intellectual disability (ID) is apparent when there are limitations in important areas of intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior originating before the age of 18 years (Drew & Hardman, 2007). If Jenny has an ID, there is a good chance she will have a decreased level of intellectual capacity and possible behavioral issues including areas of personal need and social aptitude. It is important to note that there is a range of abilities among people with an ID as they are very heterogeneous, varying from mild to severe disabilities in various levels of intellectual and adaptive behavior (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Does this mean Jenny cannot live out her life to the fullest? Of course it doesn’t, many of those with mild ID are able to live independent productive lives (Drew & Hardman, 2007). It does mean that she will need appropriate assessment as well as future planning and support from and interdisciplinary team, community and family alike. Special Olympics Ontario states in a positive manner that an ID should mirror a “fit” between a persons capabilities and the structure/expectation of their surroundings (specialolympicsontario.com). Assessment would aid in developing a plan for Jenny’s learning and development, allowing for her live with her unique abilities in combination with her surrounding environment to the best of her ability.
The area of psychology has largely been involved with the scientific study of ID focusing on intelligence testing, learning theories, and interpersonal aspects for an individual (Drew & Harman, 2007). The purpose of these assessments through testing is to first, determine if Jenny does have a disability, and if so, to define her current skill level and foster a plan to support her learning process. Both intelligence and adaptive behavior can be tested through various standardized tests although both aspects of IDs have been difficult to measure directly (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Intelligence refers to Jenny’s general mental capacity (Introduction to Intellectual Disabilities, 2011). Testing for intelligence generally involves attaining an intelligent quotient (IQ) score through norm-referenced testing and comparing it to the norm to identify the presence of an ID (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Although Jenny may exhibit difficulties in some areas of cognitive function, she may very well be gifted in others. A difficulty with this testing is the absence of identification of specific skills or deficits therefore lacking contribution to intervention for the Jenny. Criterion-referenced testing, on the other hand, focuses on Jenny’s absolute performance and specific skills allowing for the development and planning of her educational program with needs for support ranging from intermittent to pervasive (Drew & Hardman, 2007; Hudson & Radler, 2005). For Jenny at the age of 7 years, we would run tests for to test her cognitive abilities, such as the standard Stanford Binet...

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