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09/01/2008

Therapeutic Interventions in the Netherlands and Belgium in Support of People with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities


By: Carla Vlaskamp and Han Nakken

Abstract: For several reasons, people with profound and multiple disabilities may be offered a variety of therapeutic interventions. Thus far, researchers have shown a limited interest in providing an empirical base for these interventions. Research is needed on the theoretical rationale (if any), the supposed ‘modus operandi’ and the claimed benefits of therapeutic interventions. As a first step, this paper offers an overview of the use of these interventions. A total of 48 settings in the Netherlands and Belgium were included in this study. Results show that some interventions are very frequently used, with Snoezelen, Sensory Integrative Therapy, Equine Therapy, Basic Stimulation and Aromatherapy being the most common. Only one of these five has been subjected to a number of carefully designed studies. Nearly a third of all therapeutic interventions currently in use are not clinically evaluated. Of those that are evaluated, more than half are only evaluated monthly or even less frequently. The article ends with a call for an effective research strategy to separate interventions that are beneficial to people with PIMD from those that are unsubstantiated.
 
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