Educator perceptions and ratings of pain in school-age children with mental retardation and developmental disabilities

Satomi K. Shinde, Frank J Symons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Educator perceptions and ratings of pain between school age children with and without mental retardation were investigated using written vignettes of three different pain types (acute/procedural; accidental; chronic). Diagnostic/functional information (i.e., mental retardation) was randomized across raters (N = 95). Raters were asked to consider whether the child experienced any pain (yes/no) and if so to rate its intensity on a standardized numeric rating scale. There were no significant differences between groups for the perception of pain or the rating of pain intensity by diagnostic/functioning information. Additional analyses showed that participants rated pain differently across pain types (p < .05) suggesting that the written vignettes had face validity (i.e., represented different types/sources of pain). Secondary analyses between licensed special education teachers and prospective pre-licensure special education teachers found significant differences (p < .05) between ratings for acute/procedural pain. These results suggest that more experienced (i.e., licensed) teachers may be better 'detectors' of pain/discomfort in children with or without mental retardation than less experienced teachers. Implications of this finding are discussed. Considering the limited research in the area of pain, disability, and education further work appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalEducation and Training in Developmental Disabilities
Volume42
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

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