Clinical Practices and Barriers to Best Practice Implementation of Psychologists Working with Adults with Intellectual Disability and Comorbid Mental Ill Health [2018]

Evidence‐based practice (EBP) has not been well established in the area of intellectual disability (ID) and comorbid mental ill health. Some attempts in the form of policies and practice guidelines have been made. The aim of this study was to investigate assessment practices of Australian psychologists working with adults from this specialist population and explore barriers to best practice implementation. One hundred and two psychologists completed a self‐report online survey exploring barriers to EBP implementation. Sixty‐one psychologists completed questions relating to their practice including diagnostic practices, application of special considerations, and use of specialist resources. Psychologists reported many assessment practices that were in line with current national and international guidelines including utilization of specialist assessment resources, interdisciplinary collaboration, and application of reasonable adjustments to standard practice to suit the needs of individuals with dual disabilities. However, the sample also reported a number of barriers to implementing best practice recommendations such as diagnostic issues, limited access, and awareness of clinical resources and limited access to mental health services. Findings from this study have implications for best practice guidelines and policies in how mental health services for individuals with IDs and their families are delivered in Australia. This includes facilitating collaboration between health and disability services, adequate training, and access to specialist resources and access to mental health services equipped to support the needs of this specialist population.

Joyce Man Maria Kangas Julian Trollor Naomi Sweller

Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2018