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2016-50: Guideline LVBeeld


People with Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) are overly involved in the forensic domain. Nonetheless, they often go unnoticed. Underdiagnoses of MID often results in miscommunication, less adherence and sanctions that are too complicated, which in turn often results in incremental sentences, anger and increase of resistance. Underdiagnoses is not surprising as MID is hard to spot; MID is physically invisible, capricious in performance and varies over context. People often mask their disabilities, making recognition even more complicated, particularly in a forensic context. They would rather show antisocial behaviour and hide their lack of understanding, pretending to be uninterested or even unwilling: “rather antisocial then dumb”. Literature and diagnostic material have been growing over the last years. However, due to the aforementioned, this does not seem to be sufficient. In order to recognize and understand MID a more active, ‘deep learning’ is required.

The project ‘LVBeeld' focuses on recognition and understanding the concept of MID. To do so we designed films working together with MID and non-MID youngsters (N=12, ages from 16 to 19). In the films youngsters (inter)act with a professional actor, presenting typical theme’s youngsters experience (e.g. a conflict with a guard that forbids you to smoke or park your scooter in a certain area). Professionals (N = 20) from various organizations within the forensic context were trained by means of these films, discussion, exercise and education. Using the films professionals discussed characteristics of MID youngsters. Participants report they recognized more MID characteristics after the training (84%) and considered the films to be useful (90%). Trainees grew in capacity as compared to experts (N = 17) whom we ‘tested’ to set a baseline. The films were helpful and fundamental for discussion. Discussion increased the insight that characteristics do not exist without context and that they should be valued within the context. “You have to look for a pattern; a characteristic by itself might seem representative, but in another context it might not”. For example, being slow is often considered typical for MID. However, a youngster might be slow because he is pondering and weighing the situation, considering different perspectives and thereby taking his time, which is not typical for MID. In discussion with your colleagues you have to substantiate your choices and reconsider MID indications and/or contra-indications. Professionals argued that this increased their ability to recognize MID characteristics and their ability to understand the impact of these characteristics, which in turn changed their own behaviour and treatment of (MID)juveniles.

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