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FINDING A WAY. Working with children and young people with an intellectual disability Rosie’s Place Inc 2006. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1979. To have basic needs met. To be safe and have a healthy environment To have accurate information.

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finding a way


Working with children and young people with an intellectual disability

Rosie’s Place Inc 2006

united nations convention on the rights of the child 1979
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1979.
  • To have basic needs met.
  • To be safe and have a healthy environment
  • To have accurate information.
  • To be consulted and have choice
  • To have quality of service
  • To be supported
  • To participate socially and to have social responsibilities ands
  • To be heard in relation to a problem and to seek redress.
vulnerability to abuse
Vulnerability to abuse.
  • Dependency on others.
  • Struggles with learning, speech, and communication, movement, developmental skills, abstract thinking, social skills and self care.

Limited concepts about what is safe and unsafe, acceptable and unacceptable.

  • Limited social skills and experience to discern people’s behaviours and intentions.
  • Poor body awareness, lack of knowledge of body parts and limited concept of personal space which may make them vulnerable to abuse and desensitized to invasive practices.
Challenging behaviours which increase risk of physical and emotional abuse or neglect because of increased demands placed on caregivers at home and school.

Desensitisation to norms and expected standards of behaviour due to daily routine in settings that not conducive to learning those skills

Changes in appearance or behaviour which may be seen as related to disability and not to abuse or neglect.
  • Their isolation and dependency makes it important to receive approval and validation from significant others.
Limited skills in seeking help and communicating fears and confusion.
  • Reduced opportunities for independence, assertiveness and development of self confidence, well being, self direction.
  • Less resiliency to stress-lack protective factors- high self esteem, high scholastic achievement, effective problem solving skills, strong social skills, good peer relations, safe attachments.
prevailing myths
Prevailing Myths
  • Myth of infantalisation
  • Myth of acceptable inappropriate behaviour
  • Myth of pain insensitivity
  • Myth of professional pessimism
  • Mansell & Sobsey (Counselling People with Developmental disabilities who have been sexually abused.)
protective behaviours in a child protection framework
Protective Behaviours in a Child Protection Framework.
  • Socio sexual skills- including social interaction and protection skills.
  • Refine discrimination skills to discern safe and unsafe situations.
  • Recognising and responding to Emotions. Eg: To know how to recognise concerns if worried/angry about a situation .
Problem solving difficulties- to take action when those situations arise.
  • Communicate skills to notify others of their risk to harm.
  • To develop a network of support people who they can communicate such concerns to.
principles of practice
Principles of practice
  • Children and young people with an intellectual disability are children first
  • Have the same rights to protection, to feel safe, to be consulted and to be heard as any other child or young person.
  • The issue of safety and protection should remain the focus of attention-not the disability.
Worker’s beliefs and attitudes can and do impact on their ability to respond.
  • Not to make assumptions.
  • Recognising a child’s strengths and abilities.

(Ref: Children with a disability who experience violence in their family. Joan Bratel. Point of Contact PADV. 2005. Bk. 9 Working with Diversity).

aims of prevention
Aims of prevention
  • To increase access to protective programs.
  • Provide education to children to increase their awareness of unsafe situations and develop personal safety strategies.
  • To provide information that will support access to available support services within the community.
Provide an outreach consultation and resource service to schools.
  • Devise group program and materials to assist to provide educationally based protective strategies.
what we learnt
What we learnt
  • Confronting information and graphics that for children who may be at risk or have experienced abuse.
  • At times such pictures and descriptions are inappropriate and not respectful.
  • Material did not seem to be easily accessed by school staff. .
  • A “Grab and run” material for teachers to use seems to be the most effective and useful.
The need for repetition of important concepts and generalised across a range of familiar and unfamiliar settings.
  • Major themes presented need to be constantly revised.
  • The material needs to fit the child’s own experiences for connection and interest.
The program material for each theme needs to have several different activities.
  • If something is not working drop it. that can be incorporated into the theme for that session.
  • Process is primary…content works if it is sinc with process.
Activities need to be socially positive, reinforcing achievement and success rather than failure or frustration.
  • Learning is active with different methods and mediums.
  • “Hands thinking” and “eyes thinking” may work better than “ears thinking”
All concepts and themes presented to children needs to be presented in visual format.
  • We are all visual learners and children who have difficulty with language itself will be able to understand the content and follow instructions.
The way with work with children who have a intellectual disability is through visual supports.
  • This method is so succesful we can use it to assist all children who struggle with their own barriers ie: children who are culturally & linguistically diverse, & children who have other learning difficulties ie: ADD,ADHD, PDD.
central themes
  • About Me. – creating individual passports for each child. This passport will be creating over the course of the manual. It is interwoven into the structure of the manual so the passport will reflect the child’s individuality and their understanding of each theme represented.
  • Staying Safe – safe and unsafe situations & what to do
  • Touching – Good & bad touches – hands on hands off
  • Feelings – what your body tells you about feelings
  • Being with others / Healthy relationships – (circles) appropriate contact with other people
Multiple Intelligences Toolbox & Natural Resources
  • Verbal/Linguistic Logical/Mathematical Visual/Spatial
  • Reading Abstract symbols guided imagery
  • Vocabulary Outlining Active imagination
  • Formal Speech Graphic organisers Colour schemes
  • Journal diary Number sequences Pattern/designs
  • Creative Writing Calculation Painting/Drawing
  • Poetry Deciphering code Mind mapping
  • Debate/speaking Showing relationships Pretending
  • Humour/Jokes Syllogisms/problem solving Sculpture/picture
  • Storytelling Pattern games
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Interpersonal
  • Folk/creative dancing Giving feedback
  • Role Playing Cooperative learning
  • Physical gestures/mime Intuiting
  • Drama Person – person
  • Martial arts communication
  • Body language Empathy practice
  • Physical exercise Collaboration skill
  • Inventing Sensing others
  • Sports /games Group projects
  • Musical/Rhythmic Intrapersonal
  • Rhythmic Patterns Silent reflection
  • Singing/ vocal sounds methods
  • Music composition Thinking strategies
  • Percussion vibrations Centrering practices
  • Environmental sounds Metacognition
  • Instrumental sounds techniques
  • Music performance Emotional processing
  • Source: Lazear,D.G (1992) TEACHING FOR MULTIPLE iNTELLIGENCES (Fastback No:342) Phi Delta Kappa




Multiple Intelligences Toolbox - Safety
  • Verbal/Linguistic Logical/Mathematical Visual/Spatial
  • Story with hands on Sorting – Venn Diagrams Bingo – hands on/off
  • hands offCrossword puzzle
  • (reading a story to the
  • Group, discussing each
  • Situation is it hands on
  • Or hands off touching)
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Interpersonal
  • Circles conceptCooperation games
  • (each child will learn turn taking
  • the appropriate interaction jigsaw making
  • With a variety of people sharing
  • In their lives)
  • Musical/Rhythmic Intrapersonal
  • Drumming Talking
  • Listening to different Breathing (how to get
  • Types of music and through feelings of unsafe
  • Identifying safe & unsafe sounds



Multiple Intelligences Toolbox - Feelings
  • Verbal/Linguistic Logical/Mathematical Visual/Spatial
  • Story telling with Feelings tower Playdoh – making
  • Participation feelings faces
  • I feel… jigsaw feelings feelings stones


  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Interpersonal
  • Role Play – show child feelings wheel
  • The name of a feeling games
  • And child makes that feeling
  • His/her face and class
  • guess feeling
  • Musical/Rhythmic Intrapersonal
  • Talking about how how to deal
  • The music can with different
  • Make us feel feelings



Personal Passports
  • Name: _______________________________
  • Age: ________________________________
  • Hair Colour: __________________________
  • Boy or Girl: __________________________
  • Friends: _________________________________________________________________
  • How I communicate: __________________


I like to eat: _________________________
  • I like to drink: _______________________
  • I like to watch on TV: _________________
  • I like to play with : ___________________
  • Pets name: _________________________
  • Mums name: _______________________
  • Dads Name: ________________________
I like to talk about: ___________________
  • My favourite toy is: __________________
  • I am good at: _______________________
  • Things I like to do: __________________
  • Things I don’t like to don’t like to do:
  • __________________________________
Ways to help me: _____________________
  • Ways not to help me: __________________
  • Things that don’t help me at all:
  • ___________________________________
  • Important people in my life: _____________
  • ____________________________________
People I feel safe with: __________________
  • ____________________________________
  • I am scared: __________________________
  • ____________________________________
  • Things that help me stay calm: ___________
  • ____________________________________
  • Things I can do for myself: _____________
  • ___________________________________
Places that make me feel safe: ____________
  • ____________________________________
  • Things I need help with: ________________
  • ____________________________________
  • Things I might do if I am not happy: ______
  • ____________________________________
  • When I do this: ________________________________________________________
  • This is what is wrong: _______________________________________________________