Articles of Interest

Note: Highlighted Articles are those identified in Where to Start as well.

These articles are available in an audio format. Click Here

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect and Council on Children with Disabilities. Hibbard, R. A. & Desch, L.W. (2007) Clinical Report: Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities, Pediatrics, Update 119(5) pp. 1018-1025.
KEYWORDS: Medical Concerns, Developmental Disabilities, Abuse: General Disabilities: General
This is the latest (2007) version of the clinical report produced by the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect and the Council on Children with Disabilities within the American Academy of Pediatrics. It once again recognizes that children with disabilities as a population need to be recognized as at risk for maltreatment. It cautions medical providers to not be confused by some conditions related to disability which can present as maltreatment. Early intervention and ways that a medical home can facilitate the prevention and intervention of child maltreatment are the subjects of this report. FULL TEXT   PDF    Audio (26:43)
Anderson, J. & Heath R. T. (2006). Forensic Interviews of Children Who Have Developmental Disabilities. Part 1 and Part 2. Update. American Prosecutors Research Institute, 19(1); 19(2).
KEYWORDS: Developmental Disabilities, Interviewing, Competency, Disability: General, Legal Concerns
Provides general information on interviewing strategies when investigating a case with a child with developmental disabilities. The first short summary (Part 1) emphasizes the importance of preparations before an interview including being sure all information is obtained, establishing child characteristics and who will be the lead interviewer, etc. Part 2 highlights some general guidelines during the forensic interview including developmental screening, dynamics of abuse with this particular population. Articles are very short, but provide good points to consider for this population of children. FULL TEXT 1  PDF 1secure file icon   FULL TEXT 2  PDF 2secure file icon  
Appelbaum, K. L. (1995). Assessment of criminal-justice-related competencies in defendants with mental retardation. Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 311-327.
KEYWORDS: Mental Retardation, Competency, Legal Concerns
Provides a succinct overview of strategies to detect mental retardation in defendants during forensic evaluations. Recommends that professionals pay particular attention to an individual's psychosocial history, responses to functional tasks, and specific aspects of communication and cognition for preliminary evidence of a disability. A helpful outline of these initial clues to the presence of mental retardation is included. Issues pertaining to diagnosis and classification, competence, and supports are also briefly addressed. While slightly outdated, this medical perspective provides a readable and well-organized overview of ways for professionals to detect mental retardation in defendants during forensic evaluations. FULL TEXT   PDF
Aunos M., Goupil G. & Feldman M. (2003). Mothers with intellectual disabilities who do or do not have permanent custody of their children. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 10(2) , 65-79.
KEYWORDS: Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*, Legal Concerns, Custody*, Competency
Many parents with intellectual disabilities (ID) lose custody of their children due to real or perceived parenting inadequacies. It is not clear how parents with ID who keep their children differ from parents who lose their children. In this study, 30 mothers with an intellectual disability who still had custody of all their children were compared to 17 mothers whose children were placed in care. The results suggest that services should then be offered to both mothers and children and be adapted as the children grow. PDF
Aunos, M., Goupil G. & Feldman, M. (2008). Mothering with Intellectual Disabilities: Relationship Between Social Support, Health and Well-Being, Parenting and Child Behaviour Outcomes. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (21) 4, 320-330.
KEYWORDS: Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*, Child Custody*, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Legal Concerns, Competency
There is a general agreement in the literature that no systematic correlation exists between parental intellectual disability per se and parenting performance. Yet, a few studies in the field of parents and parenting with intellectual disability have explored other potential determinants of parenting and child outcomes. In this study, the authors examined the relationship between maternal social support, psychological well-being, parenting style, quality of the home environment and child problem behaviours. PDF
Ballard, M.B. & Austin, S. (1999). Forensic interviewing: Special considerations for children and adolescents with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 34(4), 521-525.
KEYWORDS: Mental Retardation, Developmental Disabilities, Interviewing, Sexual Abuse, Legal Concerns
An excellent short summary of the special considerations that professionals need to remember as they interview children and adolescents with Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. These general considerations are presented in an easily read narrative format, and are discussed in the context of the different phases of the forensic interview. FULL TEXT   PDF
Bickel, P.S. (2010). How long is a minute? The importance of a measured plan of response in crisis situations. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 42(5), 18-22
KEYWORDS: Behavior concerns, Restraint and Seclusion
This article, about restraint and seclusion, explains the importance of the first minute of a crisis to prevent injury. It also includes the components of a proactive emergency intervention plan, and the student safeguards that should be included. PDF
Booth T. & Booth W., (2005). Parents with learning difficulties in the child protection system: Experiences and perspectives. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 9(2), 109-129.
KEYWORDS: Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*, Legal Concerns, Custody*, Learning Disabilities, Child Protection*, Competency
The article documents the views and feelings of parents with learning difficulties as they reflect on their first-hand experience of going through care proceedings. Through interviews with mothers and fathers who have learning difficulties who describe how they are handled by the child protection system and the family courts, the authors provide a parental perspective on assessments, support, case conferences and the court process as well as the after-effects on the families themselves. PDF
Bottoms, B. L., Nysse-Carris, K. L., Harris, T. and Tyda, K. (2003). Jurors' Perceptions of Adolescent Sexual Assault Victims Who Have Intellectual Disabilities
KEYWORDS: Learning disabilities, Legal Concerns, Credibility, Competency
Children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities are especially likely to be sexually abused. Even so, their claims are not likely to be heard in court, possibly because people assume that jurors will not believe them. PDF
CCBD's position summary on the use of seclusion in school settings. (2009). Behavioral Disorders, 34(4), 235-43.
KEYWORDS:Restraint and Seclusion, Behavior Concerns
A summary of Council for Children with Behavior Disorders views on the use of seclusionary time-out in school settings. PDF
Cederborg, A.C., Lamb M. (2008). Interviewing alleged victims with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 52(1), 49–58. Copyright 2008
KEYWORDS:Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Interviewing
This article discusses how victims of crime are interviewed by police officers in Sweden, and how this may affect their ability to report information accurately. When the officers asked focused questions, not open-ended questions, they were more likely to receive in accurate information. The article suggests when interviewing victims with Intellectual disabilities, use open-ended questions and shorter sentences for the best results. PDF
Cederborg, A.C., Danielson, H., Rooy, D.L., & Lamb, M.E. (2009). Repetition of contaminating question types when children and youths with intellectual disabilities are interviewed. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 53, 440-449.
KEYWORDS:Interviewing, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Sexual Abuse
This article discusses how victims of crime are interviewed by police officers in Sweden, and how this may affect their ability to report information accurately. When the officers asked focused questions, not open-ended questions, they were more likely to receive in accurate information. The article suggests when interviewing victims with Intellectual disabilities, use open-ended questions and shorter sentences for the best results. PDF
Cooke, P. & Davies, G (2001). Achieving best evidence from witnesses with learning disabilities: New guidance. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(3), 84-87.
KEYWORDS: Mental Retardation, Developmental Disabilities, Sexual Abuse*, Legal Concerns
The new legislation contained within the UK Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which comes into force in 2001, offers 'special measures' to enable vulnerable witnesses to give improved evidence in court. The present paper examines these measures and considers the guidelines which have been prepared to implement the legislation. The Guidance, currently contained within a Home Office Consultation Paper, Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidance for Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesses, including Children, emphasizes the need for early identification of witnesses with learning disabilities, and offers suggestions regarding identification and the type of support which should be offered in terms of attitude, conditions, practice and language. PDF
Council for Exceptional Children. (2010). Council for Exceptional Children's Policy on Physical Restraint and Seclusion in School Settings, TEACHING Exceptional Children, 42(5), 24-25.
KEYWORDS: Behavior Concerns, Restraint and Seclusion
This document outlines the CEC's policy on restraint and seclusion. Also outlines suggested principles of restraint/seclusion in school settings. PDF
Couvillon, M., Peterson, R., Ryan, J.B., Scheuermann, J. & Stegall, J. (2010). A review of crisis intervention training for schools. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 42(5), 6-17.
KEYWORDS: Behavior concerns, Restraint and Seclusion
This article highlights the importance of school districts making an informed decision regarding which "crisis intervention" training they should provide to their staff because of the spotlight put on restraint and seclusion procedures used in schools. The article lists the various training programs available to school districts and some details of each one. PDF
Dunlap, G., Ostryn, C. & Fox, L. (2011). Preventing the Use of Restraint and Seclusion with Young Children: The Role of Effective, Positive Practices. Retrieved from:
KEYWORDS: Restraint and Seclusion
This article begins by defining what restraint and seclusion are in the context of young children. The authors go on to outline the problems with seclusion and restraint that currently exist such as, potential injury, risk of psychological problems, lack of therapeutic benefit, and overuse. The authors advocate for the promotion of a framework of prevention that involves the promotion of appropriate social emotional behaviors, as well as prevention of violent or disruptive behaviors. Lastly, the authors outline an approach to handling what they deem to be serious and "out-of-control" behaviors. The process that they are promoting is known as the LEAD process, and the steps to this process are outlined in the article. PDF
Elman, R.A. (2005). Confronting the sexual abuse of women with disabilities. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/ Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved 10/5/10 from
KEYWORDS: Sexual Abuse, Developmental Disabilities
This article gives an overview of various studies focusing on sexual abuse of women with disabilities. There are many different studies available, often making it hard to find appropriate responses and conclusions. The article also discusses data on perpetrators. Research finds that the majority of perpetrators are male caregivers, most of whom are paid service providers in a disability service setting. Lastly, the article gives suggestions on prevention for women with disabilities from sexual violence. PDF
Ericson, K., Perlman, N. & Isaacs, B. (1994). Witness competency, communication issues and people with developmental disabilities. Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, 22(2), 101-109.
KEYWORDS: Competency, Developmental Disabilities, Interviewing, Legal Concerns
While slightly outdated, this article provides a readable discussion of the communication and competency issues involving individuals with developmental disabilities who have been victims of sexual abuse or assault. A comprehensive set of guidelines for interviewers outlines a number of practical ways to support the communication needs of witnesses who have developmental disabilities. Presented in a numbered list, these guidelines provide the dos and don'ts for interviewing individuals with developmental disabilities.
Finlay, W. M., & Lyons, E. (2002). Acquiescence in interviews with people who have mental retardation. Mental Retardation, 40, 14-29.
KEYWORDS: Mental Retardation, Legal Concerns, Interviewing, Competency
Current and comprehensive explanation of the occurrence and causes of acquiescence in interviews with individuals who have mental retardation. Specifically deals with one aspect of acquiescence, yea-saying, the tendency of individuals to respond affirmatively regardless of the question asked. The researchers emphasize that in addition to acquiescence being caused by an individual's desire to please, it should also be viewed as the result of asking questions that are too complex linguistically or in terms of content. Specific and practical strategies for reducing acquiescence in interviews are offered. FULL TEXT   PDF
Focht, G. (2008). Persons With Developmental Disability Exposed to Interpersonal Violence and Crime: Approaches for Intervention. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 44, (2), 89–98.
KEYWORDS: Abuse: General, Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Persons with developmental disabilities experience interpersonal violence (from caregivers, family members, etc.) and the effects at a much higher rate than persons without disabilities. Healing from the trauma can be a slow process for persons with developmental disabilities. In order to heal, they need time and a caring environment. They may also benefit from the traditional therapeutic approaches when adjusted to their level of communication and understanding. PDF
Heckler, S. (1994). Facilitated communication: A response by child protection. Child Abuse and Neglect, 18(6), 495-503.
KEYWORDS: Facilitated Communication, Autism, Sexual Abuse, Legal Concerns
Discusses the case of a 7-year-old child with autism from Minneapolis, MN who reported via facilitated communication that she had been sexually abused. This case is used as a springboard for a thorough discussion on several of the issues concerning facilitated communication, including a research-based rationale for its use, the influence of the facilitator, and strategies for demonstrating the independence of produced messages. While outdated, this discussion provides a clear and readable introduction to the controversial method of facilitated communication, as well as a valuable explanation of the key issues that references actual cases of abuse reported via facilitated communication. FULL TEXT   PDF
Hershkowitz, I., Lamb, M. E., & Horowitz, D. (2007). Victimization of children with disabilities. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(4), 629-635.
KEYWORDS: Abuse: General, Sexual Abuse, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities
The risk of sexual victimization and abuse is much great for children with severe disabilities, as opposed to those children with “minor” disabilities. Also, children with disabilities are more likely to be a victim of sexual abuse rather than physical abuse. Children with disabilities who have been abused are more likely to delay in reporting the abuse, or not report it at all, compared to their typically developing peers that have been abused. PDF
Heestermans, M. (2010). Interviewing victims of sexual abuse with an intellectual disability: A Dutch single case study. Journal of Social Work Practice, 24, 1-17.
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Sexual Abuse, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mental Retardation
This article discusses and demonstrates how to conduct interviews of victims that have been sexually abused in order for them to disclose the information in their own words. EXCERPT ONLY. PDF
Higgins, D. (2010). Sexuality, human rights and safety for people with disabilities: the challenge of intersecting identities. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 25 (3), 245-257.
KEYWORDS: Disabilities: General
This article gives an overview of sexual victimization, sexual assault, and gender-based discrimination of people with a disability. EXCERPT ONLY. PDF
Hollomotz, A. (2009). Beyond ‘Vulnerability’: An ecological model approach to conceptualizing risk of sexual violence against people with learning difficulties. British Journal of Social Work, 39(1), 99-112.
KEYWORDS: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Sexual Abuse
In the UK, people with learning difficulties are more likely to experience sexual violence than non-disabled people. This article looks at the risk factors associated with sexual violence and learning difficulties. It concludes that risk factors are socially created, and not the origin of the individual. It also concludes that confining people to “safe” environments, such as group homes, does not stop sexual violence. The best way to protect people with learning difficulties against sexual violence is to enable them to increase their self-defense skills. PDF
Huer, M.B., & Yaniv, K. (2006). Access to justice: An SLP's guide to helping persons with complex communication needs voice their case. The ASHA Leader, 11(17), 6-7, 28-29
KEYWORDS: Legal Concerns, Communication Disorders, Interviewing, Abuse: General
Describes the responsibilities and challenges of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) as they prepare persons with complex communication needs (PWCCN) for the court system. The article suggests that SLPs should acquire additional knowledge, skills, and education before entering the legal arena by becoming familiar with the legal process (e.g. basic rules of law, and procedures). Work is needed in this area to advocate for increased accommodations and these professionals can assist in this arena. Judges and attorneys may also need to be immersed in training programs for greater acceptance of communication through augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and other strategies. A very critical topic with cross-training needed in many disciplines.FULL TEXT PDF
James, H. (2004). Promoting effective working with parents with learning disabilities. Child Abuse Review 13 (1), , 31-41.
KEYWORDS: Competency, Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Parents
This article outlines the risks of children of parents with intellectual disabilities (Called learning disabilities in the UK), including the risk of developmental delays from genetic and/or environmental factors. The children of parents with intellectual disabilities are more likely to experience behavior problems, and language delay. The article also states there is a risk of neglect. The article further explains the ways that risks can be reduced: family supports and small family size. PDF
Jones, L., Cross, T., Walsh, W., Simone, M. (2007). Do children's advocacy centers improve families' experiences of child sexual abuse investigations? Child Abuse and Neglect, 31(10), 1069-1085.
KEYWORDS: Children's Advocacy Centers*, Investigations (Sexual Abuse)*, Forensic Interviews*, Interviewing
Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) seek to increase multidisciplinary coordination in sexual abuse investigations and provide an independent, child-friendly environment for forensic interviews, increase training for interviewers, and increase children's access to medical and therapeutic services. The agencies have developed rapidly. Although CACs vary and emphasize different objectives, all aim to improve the experience of children and families with sexual abuse investigations. This study presents results measuring caregivers' and children's experiences with child abuse investigations. PDF
Kebbell, M. R., & Hatton, C. (1999). People with mental retardation as witnesses in court. Mental Retardation, 3, 179-187.
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Mental Retardation, Legal Concerns
Provides a dense, yet helpful review of the literature concerning eyewitness testimony given by individuals who have mental retardation. Research on such topics as recall accuracy, questioning style, suggestibility, and alternative interviewing methods is clearly presented and suggests that individuals with mental retardation can provide accurate accounts of events when appropriate questioning and cross-examination techniques are used. While more difficult to read than other articles because of its empirical focus, it is a well-organized and comprehensive resource that is recommended for all professionals involved in evaluating and interviewing individuals with mental retardation. FULL TEXT   PDF
Kendall-Tackett, K., Lyon, T., Taliaferro, G., & Little, L. (2005). Why child maltreatment researchers should include children's disability status in their maltreatment studies.Child Abuse and Neglect The International Journal, 29(2), 147-151.
KEYWORDS: Abuse: General, Disabilities: General, Interviewing
Approximately 8% of children in the US have disabilities (US Census Bureau, 2002), and these children are more likely to be abused or neglected than their non-disabled peers. The studies that have identified this vulnerability have varied in methodology and sample, and yet the findings have been remarkably consistent. But much work still needs to be done to know the magnitude of the problem, and what professionals can do to help. The authors are writing to encourage researchers in the child maltreatment field to include childrenÕs disability status in their studies of abuse and neglect. PDF
Konstantareas, M. M. (1998). Allegations of sexual abuse by nonverbal autistic people via facilitated communication: Testing of validity. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22(10), 1027-1041.
KEYWORDS: Autism, Sexual Abuse, Facilitated Communication, Legal Concerns
Presents a comprehensive alternative approach to establishing the validity of allegations of sexual abuse by nonverbal children with autism produced through facilitated communication. The assessment protocol for this new approach is clearly described and illustrated using actual cases of reported sexual abuse. Table 1 provides a helpful outline of the assessment instruments employed as part of an evaluation of allegations of abuse via facilitated communication. FULL TEXT   PDF
Lightfoot, E.B., & LaLiberte, T.L. (2006). Approaches to child protection case management for cases involving people with disabilities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 30, 381-391.
KEYWORDS: Abuse: General
This study looks at the services from child protection agencies given to cases where a family member had a disability. The study reports that few of the agencies in the study had formal written reports for working with families with disabilities. The study also recommended that further standardization and training for workers is needed in the realm of disabilities. PDF
Little, L. (2004). Victimization of children with disabilities. In K.A. Kendall-Tackett (Ed.), Health consequences of abuse in the family: A clinical guide for evidence-based practice (pp. 95-108). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
KEYWORDS: Abuse:General, Disabilities:General, Legal Concerns
Extensively reviews the unique vulnerabilities of children with disabilities in a way that is readable and well-organized. Practical suggestions are also offered for assessing, reporting, and treating the abuse of children who have disabilities. Given that this chapter is very current, readable, and comprehensive, it is a must-read for all professionals involved in the identification, assessment, and treatment of children with disabilities who have been maltreated. Excerpt Only    Audio (8:28)
Manders, J.E., Stoneman, Z. (2009). Children with disabilities in the child protective services system: An analog study of investigation and case management. Child Abuse and Neglect, 30(4), 229-237. .
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Abuse: General
This study looked at how case workers perceived victims of abuse when they had a physical disability. Victims with a physical disability were more likely to be seen as having a characteristic which contributed to the abuse than those victims without disabilities. Victims with an emotional/behavioral disorder were more likely to gain empathy from the interviewer. PDF
Martin, S.L. et. al. (2006). Physical and Sexual Assault of Women with Disabilities. Violence Against Women, 12, pp. 823-837..
KEYWORDS: Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse
This article investigates whether or not a disability status makes a woman more likely to experience physical or sexual assault. Based on a survey in North Carolina, women with disabilities are not more likely to experience physical assault than their non-disabled counterparts. Women with disabilities are however, four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their non-disabled counterparts. These conclusions suggest the need for clinicians to be trained in and aware of violence issues so as to improve screening and treatment of these patients. PDF
Nathanson, R. & Crank, J.N. (2004). Interviewing children with disabilities. Children's Law Manual, 31-39 .
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Forensic Interviewing*, Investigations (Sexual Abuse)*, Child Protection*, Attorney Training*, Legal Concerns, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation (aka Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
Children with disabilities, such as those with lower IQ and learning disabilities, are at a heightened risk for coming into contact with the legal system. They may be victims of abuse, perpetrators in delinquency cases or witnesses in placement decisions. Although there is an increased likelihood of children with disabilities participating in the investigative and judicial process, children with disabilities are often unlikely to be questioned about their experiences. This article provides several guidelines to interviewing children with disabilities to make the interview more productive. PDF
Nathanson, R. & Platt, M. (2005). Attorneys' perceptions of child witnesses with mental retardation. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 23(1) , 5-42.
KEYWORDS: Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*, Legal Concerns, Custody*, Competency
Children with mental retardation are more likely to be abused than the general population, yet are often denied access to the justice system. Research on children without mental retardation has revealed skepticism as to their reliability as witnesses in the court of law. Even more so, children with mental retardation face the issue of credibility because of their age and disability. This study assesses attorneys' perceptions of child witnesses with mental retardation. PDF
Oosterhoorn, R., & Kendrick, A. (2001). No sign of harm: Issues for disabled children communicating about abuse. Child Abuse Review, 10(4), 243-253.
KEYWORDS: Communication Disorders, Disabilities:General, Sexual Abuse
Describes an exploratory research project that analyzed the views of professionals working with children using alternative/augmentative communication systems on the issues pertaining to communication about abuse. The study and its findings are clearly written, easy to read, and comprehensive, especially the subsection discussing the barriers to communicating abuse. Given the importance of communication in protecting children with disabilities from being abused, this resource is especially meaningful for settings and professionals responsible for selecting and utilizing augmentative communication systems. FULL TEXT   PDF
Orelove, F. P., Hollahan, D. J., & Myles, K. T. (2000). Maltreatment of children with disabilities: Training needs for a collaborative response. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 185-194.
KEYWORDS: Abuse:General, Disabilities:General
Describes the results of a research project conducted at the Virginia Commonwealth University to determine the current knowledge, experience, and training interests of parents, educators, and investigators concerning responses to children with disabilities who have been maltreated. Researchers used a needs assessment instrument to assess the knowledge level of 125 Child Protective Services (CPS) workers and law enforcement personnel, 199 educators, and 101 parents of children with disabilities. Results suggest that knowledge levels in most assessed areas were not extensive, and that future training efforts should be multidisciplinary and aim to provide disability-specific knowledge and emphasize systematic approaches to recognizing and responding to instances of suspected child abuse. This study helps document the nature of current knowledge gaps, and therefore should be considered in the development of training programs to build a more coordinated and informed response to the maltreatment of children with disabilities. FULL TEXT   PDF
Oschwald, M. (2008). Development of an Accessible Audio Computer-Assisted Self Interview (A-CASI) to Screen for Abuse and Provide Safety Strategies for Women With Disabilities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 24(5), 795-818
KEYWORDS: KEYWORDS: Abuse: General, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Interviewing
This article describes the development of the Safer and Stronger Program. The Safer and Stronger Program is an audio computer-assisted self-interview program that is used on women with disabilities, and women that are Deaf, in order to screen for abuse. The use of this program has broken down potential barriers usually seen when interviewing women with disabilities, and women have been more likely to disclose abuse when using a technology-based program, rather than a paper and pencil format, or face-to-face interview. PDF
Perlman, N. B., Ericson, K. I., Esses, V. M., & Isaacs, B. J. (1994). The developmentally handicapped witness: Competency as a function of question format. Law and Human Behavior, 18, 171-187.
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Competency, Developmental Disabilities
Provides a readable and comprehensive discussion of the effects of question format on the response competency of individuals with disabilities. Specifically, it presents a study that investigated the ability of 30 individuals with developmental disabilities and 30 individuals without disabilities (17-26 years old) to accurately and completely respond to different types of questions concerning a real event. Results support the conclusion that there are ways to facilitate accurate testimony by individuals with developmental disabilities, such as asking a combination of free-recall and specific questions, while avoiding short-answer and leading questions. FULL TEXT   PDF
Perske, R. (1994). Thoughts on the police interrogation of individuals with mental retardation. Mental Retardation, 32, 377-379.
KEYWORDS: Interviewing, Mental Retardation, Legal Concerns
While slightly outdated, this brief, yet thorough article provides an excellent introduction to mental retardation and its effects on cognition, communication, and behavior. Offers several practical suggestions to ensure fair and just outcomes for individuals with mental retardation. As such, this is recommended reading for law enforcement personnel and other individuals examining or interviewing individuals with mental retardation. FULL TEXT   PDF
Russell, A. (2009). Electronic recordings of investigative child abuse interviews. CenterPiece, National Child Protection Training Center Newsletter, 1(8).
KEYWORDS: Forensic Interviewing*, Interviewing, Legal Concerns*, Attorney Training*
Interviews of alleged child abuse victims and witnesses are often the primary source of information on possible criminal activities. Therefore, it is critical that investigative interviews conducted with children are completely and accurately documented to effectively capture the child's statements regarding any abuse allegations, events witnessed or denials of witnessing or experiencing traumatic events. This article will examine the benefits and drawbacks of electronically recording investigative interviews, review legislation and case law regarding electronic recordings of interviews and make recommendations on documenting child abuse interviews. PDF
Russell, A. (2004). Forensic Interview Room Set-Up. Half A Nation, State & National Finding Words Courses Newsletter, Fall, pgs 1-4.
KEYWORDS: Forensic Interviewing*, Interviewing, Legal Concerns*, Attorney Training*
Interviews of alleged child abuse victims and witnesses are often the primary source of information on possible criminal activities. Therefore, it is critical that investigative interviews conducted with children are completely and accurately documented to effectively capture the child's statements regarding any abuse allegations, events witnessed or denials of witnessing or experiencing traumatic events. This article will examine the benefits and drawbacks of electronically recording investigative interviews, review legislation and case law regarding electronic recordings of interviews and make recommendations on documenting child abuse interviews. PDF
Smith, S. A., & Hudson, R. L. (1995). A quick screening test of competency to stand trial for defendants with mental retardation. Psychological Reports, 76, 91-97.
KEYWORDS: Abuse: General, Interviewing, Legal Concernss
This is an excellent overview article on the general parameters that need to be considered when setting up an appropriate interview room for forensic interviewing. It is especially useful as it also considers issues and concerns PRIOR to the actual interview, including materials and activities in a waiting room along with suggestions for staff and ways to interact. Extremely important points made as one considers issues related to children with disabilities, especially in terms of physical set-up and ÒgiftsÓ. Definitely well worth reading and passing along to all members of a multidisciplinary team. FULL TEXT   PDF
Tiapula, S. (2005). Learning to Read the Signs: Prosecution Strategies for Child Abuse Cases with Deaf Victims and Witnesses. Update. American Prosecutors Research Institute. 18(5).
KEYWORDS:Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Abuse: General, Communication Disorders, Legal Concerns
Provides excellent strategies for investigators, prosecutors, and interviewers working with victims who are deaf or have a hearing impairment and need to appear in court. The article includes issues that should be addressed during investigation in terms of assessing the victim's communication skills, safety, educating the court, and acknowledging diversity within the deaf community. Although a short article, it is very useful in summarizing the issues. FULL TEXT  PDF
Tymchuk, A. & Feldman, M. (1991). Parents with mental retardation and their children: Review of research relevant to professional practice. Canadian Psychology, 32 (3), 486-496.
KEYWORDS: Parents with Intellectual Disabilities*, Child Custody*, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Legal Concerns, Competency
It is likely that more persons with mental retardation will have children. These families are a challenge to social service agencies, and misconceptions about them abound in the professional, legal, and lay communities. Despite a recent increase in research, there is still much to learn about identification of at-risk conditions, effects on the children, valid measures of parenting competencies, and effective interventions. This article advocates for continued efforts to research, develop, and disseminate new intervention strategies to mitigate the possible detrimental effects on children raised by parents with mental retardation and to give judges viable options to breaking up a family. PDF
U.S. Department of Education. (2006). Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instructional Strategies and Practices. Retrieved from:
Provides strategies for teaching individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It begins with an overview of how to identify individuals with ADHD and general instructional strategies that are effective with these individuals. The article then goes on to detail a three component approach to instructing those with ADHD. The first part details academic instructional strategies, including introducing lessons, conducting lessons, concluding lessons, and individualizing lessons. The second part details behavioral interventions for individuals with ADHD and the third part details classroom accommodations. PDF
Valenti-Hein, D. C., & Schwartz, M. A. (1993). Witness competency in people with mental retardation: Implications for prosecution of sexual abuse. Sexuality and Disability, 11, 287-294.
KEYWORDS: Competency, Credibility, Mental Retardation, Sexual Abuse, Legal Concerns
While outdated, provides a short and readable overview of the competency issues raised when individuals with mental retardation testify in court. Clearly distinguishes competency from credibility, and includes an excellent discussion concerning the implications for prosecution of abuse. FULL TEXT   PDF
Walsh, W., Lippert, T., Cross, T., Maurice, D., & Davison, K. (2008). How long to prosecute child sexual abuse for a community using a children's advocacy center and two comparison communities? Child Maltreatment, 13(1), 3-13.
KEYWORDS: Investigations (Sexual Abuse)*, Child Protection*, Legal Concerns
This article explores the length of time between key events in the criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse cases (charging decision, case resolution process, and total case-processing time), which previous research suggests is related to victims' recovery. The sample included 160 cases in three communities served by the Dallas County District Attorney. Total case processing generally took more than 2 years. Implications include the need to better monitor and shorten case resolution time. PDF
Warfield, J. L. (2006). Silent Voices: Preparing Deaf Children for Court. Update, American Prosecutors Research Institute, 19(10).
KEYWORDS: Communication Disorders, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Legal Concerns, Interviewing
A concise overview of preparing a deaf child for court processions and providing the services, such as deaf interpreters, that will serve, assist, and communicate with the child. The article explicitly describes the importance of understanding the child’s communication skills and differentiating between the various certifications that interpreters hold. These factors facilitate better communication between the investigators and the child. Good add-on to Tiapula article. FULL TEXT  PDF
Weber, M. C. (2002). Disability harassment in the public schools. William and Mary Law Review, 43(3), 1079-1158. [Excerpt only, 1110-1123, 1155-1158]
KEYWORDS: Legal Concerns, Disabilities:General
Review of disability harassment in public schools written from a legal perspective. Provides an excellent discussion of legal claims and potential remedies for disability harassment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), common law, and Constitutional due process and equal protection. Discussion supports the need for school personnel and parents to increasingly work together to create a school environment where harassment is not tolerated, while the judicial system supports such policies with more serious and effective responses to claims. Provides some general background related to the possible social contract of harassment and potential abuse for this particular population of students. TEXT OF EXCERPTS ONLY   PDF