Pre-congress courses

Welcome to pre-congress courses!

Pre-congress courses are organized on Thursday 21st of September from 8.30 to 11.30. You can register for one of the Pre-Congress Courses, and the participation fee is 50 €.

Check out the Pre-congress Courses! Click on the titles for more information.

Caregiving for and attachments of persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities

Dr. Sien Vandersande
KU Leuven, Belgium

Developing consolidated, secure attachment relationships with primary caregivers yields great benefits for a person’s social-emotional growth. Especially among persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities (SPID), who are more likely to acquire mental health problems compared to the general population, the importance of attachment figures is significant. However, it is often challenging for caregivers to develop attachment relationships with persons with these complex and extensive support needs. Both risk factors at the side of the person with SPID (e.g., limited expressive communication) as well as at the caregiver’s side play a role (e.g., difficulties processing the diagnosis, difficulties to interpret the person’s idiosyncratic signals).

The knowledge on attachment in persons with SPID has long lagged behind, but is increasingly getting more research attention now. Also in clinical practice, the attachment framework is becoming more prominent to look at, for instance, behavioural problems in the group of persons with SPID. During this pre-conference, Dr. Sien Vandesande (KU Leuven, Belgium) will give a short theoretical introduction on attachment theory. This is followed by an overview of the existing research base on caregiving and attachment in persons with SPID. Illustrations will be given from her own research on parent-child attachment in children with SPID, covering different methodologies (a.o. observation, physiology, interviews). Together, we will also reflect on how these results can be translated to support parents and what we can take away from these for our own attachment relationships with clients as professional caregivers.

After the short theoretical and research introduction, we will explore options to look at attachment behaviour or quality in this particular group and to intervene. Together, we will critically discuss how these (diagnostic or intervention) methods on the domain of attachment can be adequately applied in or adjusted to the target group. During this pre-conference, cases and videos are discussed and participants are also invited to bring their own case, if desired.  

Social emotional functioning of persons with a mild ID

Lioba Grünfelder
Pedagogue Lioba Grünfelder
Mara Clinic of the Bethel Foundation, University Clinic for People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Germany
Marie Ilic
Psychologist Marie Ilic
Mara Clinic of the Bethel Foundation, University Clinic for People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Germany
Marcus Vogel
Psychiatrist Marcus Vogel
Mara Clinic of the Bethel Foundation, University Clinic for People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Germany

This workshop wants to focus on the practical use of the emotional development approach in daily work. How can we operate the transition of the assessment into daily life of the clients? How can we chance the attitude and habits after application of the SED-S in our clients? Where should the attention and main concern focus in everyday work with clients in different developmental reference ages? How can we differentiate psychiatric symptoms from developmentally appropriate behavior (e.g. borderline personality disorder vs. SED-3, schizophrenia versus SED-4, autism v. SED-1)?

We don´t focus on the diagnostic process but look at the care situations that can be changed and the implications after assigning the emotional reference ages of clients.

For different occupational groups, the SED-S offers different benefits and advantages. Therefore, the three speakers will give a short overview on the implications of the emotional development approach in their respective occupations. Afterwards, a case study will be prepared and presented that clarifies the process from the assessment to the practical implications.

In small groups, the participants are invited to apply and exercise the approach in their own clients. At the end, a round table discussion about experiences, opinions and questions due to the practical use of the developmental approach will take place.

Prior Knowledge: To follow the workshop and take a benefit from it, the partipicant should have basic knowledge on developmental psychology, the different stages of emotional development and the diagnostic process. We will briefly repeat basic ideas of the concept, but prior knowledge is beneficial. For those, who are yet unfamiliar with the approach, we recommend Sappok, Hudson, Zepperitz (2021); Meeting emotional needs in intellectual disability. Göttingen: Hogrefe Publishing, as a very easy-to-read introduction.

Peter and Friends talk about co-production and service user involvement 

Peter and Edward
Peter Cronin (left), Edward Chaplin (right) and Steve Hardy
United Kingdom

This pre-conference course will be led by Peter Cronin, an expert by his own experience of having an intellectual disability. He will be supported by his friends Eddie Chaplin and Steve Hardy whom he has worked with for over twenty years. 

The course will talk about how people with intellectual disabilities can influence the support they receive, and the benefits of co-production. Peter will also talk about his struggles with mental health and being listened to by health and care staff. Peter has presented at conferences and has co-produced journal articles, training packages, and books including the Peter and Friends series. 

Those attending the workshop will get  

  • Valuable insights into how mental health is experienced by people with intellectual disability 
  • Know what best practice is from the point of view of a person with an intellectual disability accessing health services 
  • Know how and when to make reasonable adjustments 
  • Finally Peters colleagues will talk about health literacy, which at its basic is to read, understand, and use healthcare information to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment and how this impacts people with intellectual disability

Moreover, introduce yourself with books written by Peter and Friends:

Peter and friends talk about mental health in
people with learning disabilities and/or autism

Assessing and treating pain experienced by people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities

Annemieke Eninga
PhD-candidate Annemieke Enninga
Department of Special Needs Education and Youth Care, University of Groningen, Netherlands
PhD-candidate Helen Korving
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

An informative and active workshop! Two different assessment techniques for pain experienced by adults with severe or profound intellectual disabilities are demonstrated. After this workshop you will know more about assessing pain within this target group.

Annemieke Enninga, PhD-candidate at the University of Groningen, will explain about the development of the Pain Observation Scale for Adults with Intellectual disabilities (POSAID). You will actively learn how to use this pain observation instrument by scoring it with the help of several video fragments of day-to-day situations. Helen Korving, PhD-candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, will tell you more about the development of a measurement tool of physiological signals to measure pain with the aid of a mobile application.

A demonstration of the tool and mobile application will be given. Some examples will be given for the use of the new ‘pain app’ in the treatment of possible pain experienced by persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities. Adequate use of the POSAID and the ‘pain app’ in daily caregiving will be discussed. 

Using the mirror game to look at body movement, attachment, and non-verbal communication
among persons with intellectual disability

Rinat Feniger-Schaal
PhD Rinat Feniger-Schaal
University of Haifa, Israel  

Body movement, also referred to as nonverbal communication is a rich and complex phenomenon. People communicate at so many levels: trough  facial expression, different parts of the body, the quality of the movement, the use of space, the pace of the movement, interpersonal distance, synchrony with the movement of the other, and many more.  

Nonverbal communication is a basic, first communication between mother and baby. The preliminary bond between mother and her baby is first and foremost a bodily one and therefore the body encapsulates and expresses these early experiences.  

Along the life span non-verbal communication continues to be a central way for people to communicate in any interpersonal context. People with intellectual disability are no different. Through their body they communicate their feelings, their sense of security, closeness, curiosity etc. Furthermore, the limitation in verbal communication, may call for special attention to the non-verbal communication.  

To explore body movement in an interpersonal context we used the mirror game paradigm. The mirror game is a simple imitation exercise where each of the partners takes turn in leading and following. In recent years we developed a way to use the mirror game as an assessment as well as an intervention. In this workshop we will present and practice the knowledge we gained in our studies on the mirror game (see for example Feniger-Schaal et al., 2018) when working with people with intellectual disability. 

Emotionaalinen kehityksen arviointi ja sen hyödyt arjessa

Oili Sauna-aho
Oili Sauna-aho
Neuropsykologian erikoispsykologi, Varsinais-Suomen hyvinvointialue
Ari-Matti Saari
Ari-Matti Saari
Kliinisen mielenterveyspsykologian erikoispsykologi, Etelä-Pohjanmaan hyvinvointialue
Kuva: Mikko Pirttinen
Anna-Elina Leskelä Ranta
Anna-Elina Leskelä-Ranta
Kasvatuksen ja kehityksen erikoispsykologi, HUS

Tässä esityksessä kuvataan Dosenin mukainen emotionaalisen kehitysvaiheen teoria, SEO-R2-arviointityökalu sekä erityishuoltopiirien ja Kehitysvammaliiton laaja kaksivuotinen kehityshanke. Hankkeen tavoitteena oli vahvistaa emotionaalisen kehitysvaiheen arvioinnin osaamista, vahvistaa emotionaalisten tekijöiden huomioimista osana käyttäytymistä sekä tukea SEO-R2 arviointityökalun käyttöönotto Suomessa. Esityksessä käydään läpi kokemuksia pilottikoulutuksista, menetelmän jalkauttamisesta sekä käyttökelpoisuudesta kuntoutuksen suunnitteluun sekä hoito- ja ohjaustyöhön. 


SEO-R2 arviointityökalu on läheisen haastatteluun perustuva työkalu, jolla pyritään määrittämään kehitysvammaisen henkilön emotionaalinen kehitysvaihe. Haastattelussa käydään läpi 13 emotionaalisen kehitysvaiheen osa-aluetta, jotta asiakkaan tarpeisiinsa ja käytökseen voitaisiin vastata oikeanlaisella tuella ja hoidolla. Hankkeen aikana erityishuoltopiireistä asiantuntijat hankkivat pätevyyden tehdä SEO-R2 mukaisia arviointeja sekä kouluttaa oman organisaationsa pilottiasumisyksiköiden henkilökunta emotionaalisten tekijöiden havainnointiin ja tukemiseen arjessa.  


Kokemuksia arvioinneista ja sen tulosten jalkauttamisesta arkeen on kertynyt hyvin erilaisista asumisen, kuntoutuksen sekä kehitysvammapsykiatrian yksiköistä. Keskeinen havainto on ollut, että lähihenkilöiden ymmärrys emotionaalisen kehityksen vaiheittaisuudesta ja kyky ottaa arjen vuorovaikutustilanteissa huomioon asiakkaiden emotionaalisia perustarpeita lisääntyi. Arvioinnin tulosten jalkauttamisen tueksi hankkeessa kehitettiin lähihenkilöille suunnattu perehdytys- ja koulutuskokonaisuus emotionaalisen kehityksen käsitteisiin. Pilottiyksiköistä kerätyssä palautteessa korostuu koulutettujen lähihenkilöiden kokemus siitä, miten suuria muutoksia ohjauksen toimintamalleihin pystyttiin toteuttamaan, kun asiakkaiden käyttäytymisen haasteet ensin ymmärrettiin oikein. 


Kokemukset arvioinneista ja hankkeesta olivat erittäin positiiviset. Loppupäätelmänä on, että SEO-R2-arviointityökalu tuottaa käytännönläheistä ja olennaista lisätietoa ohjaus- ja hoitotyöhön sekä kuntoutuksen suunnitteluun. Suosittelemme arviointityökalun laajempaa käyttöönottoa osaksi kehitysvammaisten erityishuoltoa.