HOPE Lab Presents at the Spring 2021 VCU Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium
September 29, 2021
by Shirin Podury
The HOPE Lab’s research about the mental health challenges faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) was presented at Virginia Commonwealth University by a few of our research assistants, Zack Moore and Barbara Salas-Ferrante, in Spring 2021. Moore’s presentation in the Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium talked about how people with IDD are not usually included in traumatic stress research and why that needs to change. Salas-Ferrante presented a data on the mental healthcare needs faced by people with Down syndrome during the COVID-19 pandemic. The HOPE Lab is proud of the research the team has done and we look forward to continuing to spread awareness of the mental healthcare needs of people with IDD.
Representation Matters: Exclusion of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities from Traumatic Stress Treatment Research
For Zack Moore’s presentation, “Representation Matters: Exclusion of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities from Traumatic Stress Treatment Research”, we reviewed 114 articles studying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies meta-analysis in 2019. We found that about 40% of the studies explicitly excluded participants with intellectual, developmental, or cognitive disabilities and often did not provide reasons for the exclusion. Research specific to people with intellectual disabilities finds that cognitive behavioral therapies can help those with mild to moderate IDD so excluding them from studies can unjustly impact to their access to mental health resources.
Mental Health Care: Needs and Access for People with Down Syndrome During a Global Pandemic
Barbara Salas-Ferrante’s presentation, “Mental Health Care: Needs and Access for People with Down Syndrome During a Global Pandemic”, examined COVID-19’s impact on mental health for people with Down Syndrome (DS). We compared the accessibility of mental healthcare for people with DS from before the pandemic to during the pandemic. We found that since the pandemic began, people with DS were reporting an increase in mental health issues along with challenges in getting care. 22.7% of parents reported that they needed mental health treatment for their child with DS but weren’t able to get it. This study is ongoing and the data is still being analyzed. We will continue analyzing social factors and their roles in accessibility during the pandemic as well.
Moore and Salas-Ferrante were also awarded Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Fellowships to continue their research during the summer of 2021. The HOPE Lab is excited to continue our research and present our findings on the mental healthcare needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future.