Time to Plan : How to support everyday planning in adolescents with intellectual disability

Abstract: Children and adolescents with intellectual disability (ID) have difficulties in executive functioning and when coping with everyday planning tasks. However, the literature cannot explain whether individuals with ID perform according to their developmental level or not. The studies in this thesis investigated if life experience could be a contributing factor to the diversity seen in the literature. Planning performance can be improved by either using external or internal support. Assistive technology for cognition (ATC) is an example of external support. This thesis investigated how the ATC is being used in an everyday planning situation which has not been investigated before. Furthermore, this thesis explored whether the internal supports of cognitive abilities and life experience correlate with planning ability in adolescents with ID, and if planning ability can be trained using a cognitive training program for everyday planning. Results showed that ATC supported cognitive functions, but that the children did not formulate the plans themselves. Furthermore, the results support the difference model of ID since planning correlated with different cognitive measures and life experience in adolescents with ID compared to children with a typical development. Adolescents with ID got better at the planning tasks in the training program, however, no transfer effects to untrained planning tasks were found. To conclude, the planning was supported by external and internal support. However, ATC needs to be designed and prescribed in a way that increases independence. Practitioners should actively support in training planning and should be cautious when introducing cognitive interventions if the transfer gap is too large.  

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