Do persons with intellectual disability and limited verbal capacities respond to trauma treatment?

Mevissen L, Lievegoed R, Seubert A, De Jongh A.  Accare, Deventer, the Netherlands.  J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2011 Dec;36(4):274-9. doi: 10.3109/13668250.2011.621415. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

BACKGROUND: There is not one case report of successful trauma treatment with the use of an evidence-based treatment method in people with substantially limited verbal capacities. This paper assessed the applicability of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) in two clients with moderate ID, serious behavioural problems, and histories of negative life events.

METHOD: The 8-phase protocol of EMDR, a first-line treatment for psychological trauma, was applied.

RESULTS: In both cases, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms decreased in a total of only 6 and 5 sessions, respectively. Gains were maintained at 32 and 10 months’ follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: EMDR seems to be an applicable psychological trauma treatment for persons with limited verbal capacities. Considering the importance of these findings, further and more rigorous research is required.