Responsiveness to staff support: evaluating the impact of individual characteristics on the effectiveness of active support training using a conditional probability approach

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BackgroundActive support training was fully conducted in 38 community houses accommodating 106 adults with intellectual disabilities (ID; group 1), but not in a further 36 accommodating 82 adults with ID (group 2). The aims of the present study were to analyse whether staff became more effective in supporting resident activity after the implementation of active support, and whether there was evidence of differential responsiveness by people with differing status in relation to adaptive behaviour, psychiatric diagnosis, challenging behaviour or autism.MethodsObservations of staff:resident interaction and resident engagement in activity were taken before and after active support training. Changes in Yule's Q statistics, indicating the likelihood that resident engagement in activity followed staff giving residents verbal instruction or non-verbal assistance, were compared for the two groups. In addition, changes in similar statistics were compared for residents within group 1: (1) with Adaptive Behaviour Scale (ABS) scores above and below 180; and (2) with and without severe challenging behaviour, the triad of social impairments and mental illness.ResultsYule's Q for engagement given non-verbal assistance significantly increased post-training among group 1, but not among group 2. Similar significant increases were found among group 1 residents with ABS scores below 180 without challenging behaviour, with and without the triad of social impairments, and without mental illness, but not with an ABS score above 180, with challenging behaviour and with mental illness.ConclusionThe present analysis reinforces previous studies on the effectiveness of active support training for adults with more severe ID (i.e. with ABS scores below 180). Active support was as effective for people with the triad of social impairments as for those without it. However, the effectiveness of support offered to people with challenging behaviour or mental illness did not significantly increase.

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