New tools sought to assess cognitive growth in intellectually disabled

Posted on November 4, 2014

The five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) calls for three research universities to develop tools to more accurately measure and track changes in the cognitive functioning among individuals with an intellectual disability.

The project is necessary as traditional evaluative tools are unable to accurately assess cognitive development for individuals with special needs. The lack of good measures to document improvement in thinking that are appropriate, valid, and measure change in children and young adults with intellectual disabilities is a critical problem. It is one of the largest barriers to development of new treatments to modify the underlying disease in developmental disabilities.

The tests will eventually be used to ascertain the effectiveness of medications and other treatments, specifically for people with fragile X and Down syndromes and other intellectual disabilities. Fragile X and Down syndromes are among the leading causes of intellectual disability in the United States and around the world. Fragile X syndrome also is the leading single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder.

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Source material from Psych Central