Background: The ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) as a component of participation is one of the factors that contribute to quality of life. The ability to perform ADL for persons experiencing severe/profound intellectual disability (ID) may be reduced due to their cognitive and physical capacities. However, until recently, the impact of the significantly prevalent visual impairments on the performance of activities of daily living has not yet been revealed within this group. Aim: The purpose of this prospective cross-sectional study was to investigate the impact of visual impairment on the performance of activities of daily living for persons with a severe/profound intellectual disability. Method: The Barthel Index (BI) and Comfortable Walking Speed (CWS) were used to measure the ability of performing activities of daily living (ADL) in 240 persons with severe/profound ID and having Gross Motor Functioning Classification System (GMFCS) levels I, II or III; this included 120 persons with visual impairment. The impact of visual impairment on ADL was analyzed with linear regression. Results: The results of the study demonstrated that visual impairment slightly affects the ability of performing activities of daily living (BI) for persons experiencing a severe/profound intellectual disability. GMFCS Levels II or III, profound ID level, and visual impairment each have the effect of lowering BI scores. GMFCS Levels II or III, and profound ID level each have the effect of increasing CWS scores, which indicates a lower walking speed. A main effect of visual impairment is present on CWS, but our results do show a substantive interaction effect between GMFCS level III and visual impairment on Comfortable Walking Speed in persons with a severe/profound intellectual disability. Conclusions: Visual impairment has a slight effect on ability to perform ADL in persons experiencing severe/profound ID.

A.D.L., Severe/profound intellectual disability, Visual impairment
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2015.10.001, hdl.handle.net/1765/85720
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Department of General Practice

Dijkhuizen, A, Hilgenkamp, T.I.M, Krijnen, W.P, van der Schans, C.P, & Waninge, A. (2016). The impact of visual impairment on the ability to perform activities of daily living for persons with severe/profound intellectual disability. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 48, 35–42. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2015.10.001