Working with intellectually disabled autistic individuals – A Qualitative Study using repertory grids – 2018

The purpose of this study was to elucidate how care professionals/providers construe, understand and make sense of the characteristics that are important when providing care to adults with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder, based on their experiences of working within their roles within a residential care setting.

Care professionals and providers working at a community autism and intellectual disability service were interviewed to ascertain their experiences of working with this client group. The research design adopted a qualitative methodology using repertory grids.

Ten members of staff who agreed to participate formed the study’s sample. This consisted of Team Leaders, Support Workers, one member of the Executive Management Team and one clinical member of staff. 10 themes were identified for working effectively with people with autism and intellectual disabilities. These were: making autism-specific adaptations, approachable, reflective/self-aware, strong understanding of their residents/empathetic, benevolent, empowering, follows plans consistently, confident in ability to support residents with autism, resilient, respectful.

Practical implications
The paper discusses each of these 10 themes above and how employers can aid in selecting individuals who may be more suited to working with this patient group.

A literature search demonstrated a lack of empirical research, especially qualitative research, on this topic.

Rachel Worthington, Chris Patterson, Neel Halder
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 2018