How useful was a visual aid to decision-making for people with learning disabilities?

Communication Aid

Being involved in the day to day decisions of our lives is a key part of self-determination. People with learning disabilities will often need significant support to enable this to happen.

This study looked at decision making for 24 people with learning disabilities (mean Full-Scale IQ = 59.8) who attended a day service.

Tasks were presented to those who took part which relating to ‘temporal discounting’ and scenario based financial decision making.

In order to test whether the visual aid improved decision making, 12 of the 24 participants were trained in the use of such a visual aid and measures were used to test whether their decision making improved.

The results suggested that improved decision-making on both tasks in the group trained to use the visual aid were made. The performance of the control participants did not change.

The authors concluded that the visual aid increased the quality of reasoning supporting a decision and may also have potential in supporting wiser decision-making. They advise caution in generalising the findings, given the small number of participants and the relatively short effect time.

A visual aid to decision-making for people with intellectual disabilities. Bailey R et al., in Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32, 1, 37-46.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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