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Mélissa Chard

Mélissa Chard

Thèse de doctorat 02 dec2014

Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition
Université de Savoie
BP 1104
73011 Chambery Cedex France

Member of International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD),
Member of Special Interest Reserach Group on Profound Intellectual and Mutiple Disabilities (SIRG PIMD).

Research interest :

The use of Visual Habituation Paradigm in the assessment of perceptual and cognitive abilities in adults with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities.

Research project :

People with Profound Intellectual and Mutiple Disabilities experience severe to profound intellectual disability and severe motor limitations ; additional sensory impairments are also very frequent. Their intellectual quotient is statistically estimated below (IQ) < 20 (World Health Organization, 2000) or (IQ) < 20-25 (DSM IV, American Psychiatric Association, 1994), as no existing standardized test can provide a valid estimation of their level of intellectual functioning (Arvio & Sillanpää, 2003 ; Nakken & Vlaskamp, 2002). Since this group cannot communicate by the means of oral or written language and is severely limited in general body movements and object manipulation, the use of common psychological assessment batteries and self-report questionnaires are invalidated. Today, habituation and related procedures are the primary behavioural tools for assessing early perceptual and cognitive abilities in humans (Sirois & Mareschal, 2004). Colombo & Mitchell (2009) commented that the use of visual responses is an appropriate method when response systems are limited and that it does not require any invasive behavioural or physiological technique, which makes the use of the Visual Habituation Paradigm highly relevant with regard to persons with PIMD.

The aim of my research project is to test the feasibility of using a visual habituation procedure with a group of adults with PIMD, in order to develop a new practical framework for cognitive skills assessment specifically designed for that population. Indeed, the use of a visual habituation method could help clinicians to focus in a more direct way on specific perceptual processes by the means of standardized, non-verbal measures.

Publications :

Chard, M., Roulin, J-L, Bouvard, M. (2013), Visual Habituation Paradigm with adults with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities : a new way for cognitive assessment ? Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (accepted).

Communications :

Conference Proceeding : "Using visual habituation with two adults with PIMD : a new way for cognitive assessment ?" (Poster Presentation)
IASSID World Congres, Halifax, Canada, 2012

"L’approche cognitive dans le cadre d’une forme de handicap extrême : comment étudier le fonctionnement cognitif d’une personne polyhandicapée", In proceeding of : XVeme Congrès de l’AFFORTHECC, Chambéry, France, 2012.