John Doe

PSY 409

Wilmington University


Scholars have developed theories on the effectiveness of early identification and early intervention programs and their effects on children with an intellectual disability. It has also been developed the significant modification these programs have on their IQ scores. This research is conducted to ensure the effectiveness of these programs for children with an intellectual disability to understand the full extent of improvement these programs can construct their adaptive behaviors and cognitive skills that are exhibited in their IQ.

Research Proposal

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-IV), the diagnostic criteria of intellectual disability is characterized as the involvement of “impairments of general mental abilities that impact adaptive functioning in three domains, or area” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 1). The involvement of early intervention programs has had perceived profits of participation in the early intervention programs. Early intervention programs allow children with intellectual disabilities and their parents to assist in the children’s development while working with specialized professionals to advocate for the child. “The provision of comprehensive early intervention services and supports for children with established developmental delays continues to be a high priority in the United States” (Guralnick, 2015, p. 1).

Early intervention measures the developmental goals that are attempted to be achieved. According to the Children and Youth Welfare Law, early intervention for children with an intellectual disability can conduct through a professional team in aspects of medical and educational, as well as performing before the age of six. The goal of this literature review is to define the effectiveness of early identification and intervention in the development of children with intellectual disabilities and the effect on their IQs. This literature review is mixed with qualitative approaches and consensus-based knowledge and recommendations from expert evidence.

Intelligence Quotient and Intellectual Disabilities

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) explores the reasoning ability of a child compared to the statistical norm for their age range. The test defines the cognitive and intellectual ability of a child, as well as the deficits in adaptive behavior. The statistical norm of the IQ is defined under a scale from mild to profound ID, with a profound ID being below 20-25 and mild ID being 50-55 to 70. Intellectual disabilities have a profound effect on the impairment of adaptive functions and cognitive ability before age 18, which is identified early based on where a child is scaled on an IQ assessment.

An inclusion criterion entails two test scores that demarcate IQ among children in the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R). “The brain develops with the environment; therefore, it is essential that there are optimal early environments for learning” (Kirk, 2015, p. 70). The emphasis of the early identification of IQ testing creates an optimal advantage to social and environmental learning that increases cognitive development in IQ. Intellectual ability is emphasized with the limitations in adaptive and cognitive behaviors and low intelligence, defined by the intelligence quotient. According to the National Academies Press, “the prevalence of intellectual disabilities is “in range of 2.5 to 5 per 1,000 children” as of 2012.

Effectiveness of Early Intervention and Identification

As intellectual disabilities can create a higher risk for children with lower cognitive ability and adaptive behavior problems compared to children of the broad-spectrum population, early intervention and identification are effective in reducing the burden of these cognitive and behavioral difficulties in the intellectual disability population. “Nearly all studies demonstrated medium to large intervention effects on child behavior post-intervention” (Petrenko, 2013, para. 1). Early identification allows a greater outcome in positive behavior and cognitive ability, as an IQ, in young children with intellectual disabilities with the onset of early clinical diagnosis.

Early intervention has an emphasis on the multi-component intervention programs, most commonly with parental training. Early interventions are efficacious in increasing children with intellectual disabilities cognitive ability in their IQ and has a benefit of adaptive behavior skills for the child and family. “Parenting program components that are consistently associated with the largest effects include increasing positive parent-child interactions and communication skills” (Petrenko, 2013, para. 9) that improve cognitive and intellectual ability.

Retrospective Cohort Study of the Effectiveness of Early Intervention

In 2014, Der-Chung Lai, Chung-Hsin Chiang, and Yuh-Ming Hou described the phenomenon of early intervention and identification effectiveness in increasing the IQ scores of children with intellectual disabilities. They conducted a cohort study of two IQ assessments between 2001 and 2005. The two tests would indicate the effectiveness of early intervention for the children with an ID through the improvement of their IQ scores.

The participants of the study included the participation of thirteen girls and twenty-three boys around six months of age. The participants were chosen in stratified random sampling, as other previous studies have been conducted in this sampling technique. “The IQ increased from 57.0 ± 8.0 to 65.1 ± 12.3; p < 0.001 (Lai, 2014, para. 3). Their results revealed improvement in IQ in their participants in the four years from the first administration of the test to the second. This study concluded the effectiveness of an early intervention in improving the IQ of children with intellectual disabilities, and the effectiveness of the earlier the better beginning intervention and identification.

In the current literature review, limitations were discovered in the lack of diversity in participants on a socioeconomic and cultural level and the lack of usage of control groups in previous studies. It should be recommenced in future studies on the effectiveness of early intervention for children with intellectual disabilities to enlist a control group that does not receive early intervention and identification. Previous studies have been limited to a particular region and socioeconomic group that does not represent an entire population of different families, socioeconomic backgrounds, and cultural backgrounds.

Significance of the Study

Early intervention and identification is an imperative aspect of the medical and educational field for developmental disabilities such as intellectual disabilities. As through the increase in studies and technology, there are many approaches to early intervention and identification techniques that are available to children with ID and their families with parental training being the most common. “Appropriate identification is important so that we can match supports and services, or interventions, to the child’s specific needs” (Kirk, 2015, p. 66).

Early intervention and identification programs have shown a significant improvement in IQ in children with an intellectual disability as the intelligence quotient defines the developmental levels in skills of adaptive behaviors and cognitive ability.

Through qualitative research and professional development in the knowledge of the significance of intellectual disabilities, early intervention and identification have been proven to be effective in improving children with an intellectual disability’s IQ that becomes closer to the intellectual level of the statistic norm for their developmental stage. Previous studies and literature reviews have defined the effectiveness of early intervention and identification, which contributes to the development of improving intervention programs.



Five females and five males ranging from ages 5-9 years old participated in the experiment and were compensated with an opportunity to offer more enlightenment on the effectiveness of early intervention for their family and others.


The independent variable is the stimulus that the children are exposed to in the participation of the early intervention program in the past three years. The dependent variable is the IQ scores that have been administered by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). The conditions of the early intervention techniques including occupational therapy, speech and language services, counseling and training for families, and assistive technology that the children had received the past three years.


The experiment will begin with ten parents of children with an intellectual disability, in which a computer-based questionnaire will be administered. This questionnaire will include straightforward questions of the child’s present age compared to the age in which they were originally identified and diagnosed with an intellectual disability. Further questions will target the IQ score in which the child falls under the scale of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). These questions will be administered through a computerized platform and remain confidential to participants, as well will the questions be taken into consideration to identify the effectiveness of an early intervention on each child’s IQ score that was assessed at the introduction of early intervention and three years prior to participation in early intervention.

Data Analysis

This study was conducted on ten participants including male and female children with ID from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. The researchers conducted a questionnaire for the parents identifying the IQ score of their children at the introduction to early intervention with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the IQ score in which was presented three years which subsequently was conducted on three years after the initial assessment.


The study is intended to confirm the effectiveness of early intervention for children with intellectual disabilities (ID) on the improvement of their IQ scores, which validates the outcomes of their adaptive behaviors and cognitive functioning. As previously presented by Der-Chung Lai and his colleagues of the effectiveness of early intervention and identification, “the effectiveness is more prominent in boys and children with a low maternal educational level” (Lai, 2014, para. 28).

The study defines the concepts of intellectual disabilities, referring to a learning disability that causes limitations in adaptive behaviors and intellectual and cognitive functioning, as well as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). This assessment is administered through a clinician or professional through standard paper-and-pencil or in digital format in a total of seven subtests, then reviewed by the conductors of the study.


The purpose of this analysis is to determine the effectiveness of early intervention programs, and the need for the intervention and identification to detect educational and social needs for children with ID. This will confirm the existence of early intervention and its positive impact on children with ID on their IQ, along with the improvement of their adaptive behaviors and intellectual functioning.


Due to ethical reasoning and lack of resources, there was no use of a control group in this study which could have shown the effectiveness in the early intervention compared to the participants in the control group’s improvement. The sample size in the study was limited in the study as there were only ten participants were available in the population given. Further research should include a larger sample size to validate the reliability of the study, as well as investigate the impact within a longer time frame of intervention.


From previous scholars, it has been instituted that early identification and early intervention have a prominent and positive effect on those with intellectual disabilities and the improved outcome of their IQ scores. Through conducted research, children are administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) from age three to eighteen years old and it has been proved to have a positive outcome of results in the improvement of IQ, including adaptive behaviors and cognitive ability. Further research can be conducted on this notion to further validate the effectiveness of an early intervention on children with intellectual disabilities.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

Guralnick, M.J. (2015, November 26). Early intervention for children with intellectual disabilities: An update. Center on Human Development and Disability: University of Washington. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved from https://depts.washington.edu/chdd/guralnick/pdfs/2017-Guralnick-EarlyIntervention_for_Children-Update.pdf

Kirk, S., Gallagher, J., & Coleman, M.R. (2015) Educating exceptional children. 14th edition. Cengage. 

Lai, D.C., Chiang, C.H., and Hou, Y.M. (2014, July 2). Predictors of effectiveness of early intervention on children with intellectual disability: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4094398/

National Academies Press. (2015). Prevalence of intellectual disabilities. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK332894/#!po=94.2308

Petrenko, C.L.M. (2013, December 1). A review of intervention programs to prevent and treat behavioral problems in young children with developmental disabilities. J Developmental Phys Disability. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24222982/

Consent Form

Description of Research

My name is Kaitlyn Cash, and I will be conducting the research in this study. The research study in which you will participate is part of a larger project that examines the influence of early intervention effects on the development of IQ in children with ID. We plan to compare the IQ scores of children with ID at the beginning of early intervention participation to the IQ scores three years into early intervention in order to better understand the effectiveness of early intervention techniques.

Description of Participation

During this session, you will be asked to as a parent, to allow your child’s IQ scores to be presented through a questionnaire that was administered in the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) before beginning early intervention in a 65-minute session. Participants will receive an hour to complete a questionnaire on their children with ID and their IQ score difference within three years.

Conditions and Benefits of Participation

We anticipate no risks of participating in this study that exceeds those ordinarily encountered in daily life. You and your child may not receive direct benefit from your participation, but others may benefit from the outcomes obtained from the study. Your identity will remain confidential upon request and will not be identified in any of the reports on the study. Records will be kept confidential to the extent provided by federal, state, and local law. However, the Institutional Review Board or university and government officials responsible for monitoring this study may inspect these records. Your participation in this project is voluntary, you may decide to exit the study at any time without penalty.


Please feel free to contact John Do, Undergraduate Student, at 856-6952 or jdo002@my.wilmu.edu or contact Dr. Andrew Lightfoot at 764-0268 or andrew.w.lightfoot@wilmu.edu if you have any questions about this study.


I have read the information given above. I hereby consent to participate in the study.

Consenting Signature: __________________________________ Date ___________

Name (Please Print): _________________________________________

Effectiveness of Early Intervention on Children with Intellectual Disabilities’ IQ

Human Subjects Review



Contact Information

Principal Investigator: John Doe

Project status

This research is for (check one): Dissertation ___ Practicum ___ Master’s _____ Undergraduate _✓__ Other (specify) ______________

This research proposal is (check one): New _✓__ Renewal ___ Re-evaluation ___

Instructor or assigned faculty sponsor: Andrew Lightfoot__________________________________________

Project Information

Title of study: Effectiveness of early intervention on children with ID and their IQ scores______________________________________________________________

Research purpose or issue: To define the effectiveness of early intervention on those with ID_____________________________________________________

Population to be studied: gender: M/F___________ age Parents of children: 3-18 of age_______ race/ethnicity: Diverse_____

number of groups and number of participants in each group Two groups of 5_________________________

inclusion and exclusion criteria _________________________________________________

How will participants be recruited: 10 Participants____________________________________________

Describe the procedures that the participants will undergo in the proposed research project to include the physical location and duration of subject participation (attach a copy of all research instruments e.g., surveys, questionnaires, interview questions etc.): An online questionnaire will be administered to the parents of the participants.

Describe procedures that will be used to maintain confidentiality, including plans for storing/disposing of tapes and other data records at the conclusion of the research: The questionnaire will be anonymous, meaning confidentiality will remain contained.

Research Protocol Please answer yes or no to all questions below.

Does this research involve:


__NO__ __ prisoners, probationers, pregnant women, fetuses, the seriously ill or mentally or cognitively compromised adults, or minors (under 18 yrs) as participants

__NO__ ____ the collection of information regarding sensitive aspects of the participants’ behavior (e.g., drug, or alcohol use, illegal conduct, sexual behavior

__NO__ ____ the collection or recording of behavior which, if known outside the research,

could place the participants at risk of criminal or civil liability or could be

damaging to the participant’s financial standing, employability, insurability, or


__NO__ ____ procedures to be employed that present more than minimal risk * to participants

____ ____ deception or coercion

__NO__ ____ benefits or compensation to participants

__NO_ ___ a conflict of interest (e.g., teacher/student, employer/employee: is there any financial interest in this research)

If you answered NO to all of the questions please proceed to the next page.

If you answered YES to any of the questions your proposal must clearly indicate why the use of participants in any of these categories is scientifically necessary and what safeguards will be employed to preserve the participant’s anonymity/confidentiality. The proposal must identify all risks (physical, psychological, financial, social, other) connected to the proposed procedures, indicate clearly how such risks to participants are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits, describe methods to protect or minimize such risks, and access their likely effectiveness. Consent/assent forms must be included for research involving minors (see pg 4 regarding details on consent forms).

minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the proposed research are not greater than those ordinarily encountered in everyday life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

Consent Forms

YES_✓___ NO____ Is a consent form included with this study? If so, attach a copy.

YES____ NO__✓__ Are child assent forms included with this study? If so, attach a copy. Minors must provide affirmative consent to participate by signing a simplified form unless the principal investigator can provide evidence that the minors are not capable of assenting because of age, maturity, psychological state, or other factors.

Who is obtaining consent? Check all that apply. Principal Investigator _✓__ Research Assistant ___ Other___(specify)__________________ How is consent being obtained? _Consent form to parents in the releasing of IQ information________________________________________________

What steps are being taken to determine that potential subjects are competent to participate in the decision-making process? Selection of participants that are cooperative__________________________________________________

Obligations of Principal Investigator

HSRC meets on the second Thursday of each month September to May and twice during the summer months. Protocol must be received two weeks before that date.

Any changes made to the research protocol must be reported to division representatives of the HSRC for review prior to the implementation of such change. Any complications, adverse reactions, or changes in the original estimates of risks must be reported at once to the HRSC chairperson before continuing the project.

Any data collection that extends beyond one year must be resubmitted before the anniversary for continuing review by the HSRC.

According to federal regulation, all data, including signed consent form documents must be retained for a minimum of three years past the completion of the research.

I have read and understood my obligations as an investigator. I certify that the research proposal is accurate and complete.

Print name: John Do________________________________ Date: _12/2/19_____________________

Signature: _John Do________________________________

Instructor or: __Andrew Lightfoot___________________________ Date: __12/2/19________________ Assigned Faculty print name Sponsor

______________________________ signature


This section is to be completed by the HSRC

Principal Investigator: ____________________________________________ Date submitted: ____________________________________________

The protocol and attachments were reviewed: ___ The proposed research is approved as ___ Exempt ___ Expedited ___ Full Committee ___ The proposed research was approved pending the following changes:

___ see attached letter

___ resubmit changes to the HSRC chairman

___ The proposed research was disapproved. See attached letter for more information.

HSRC Co-Chair _______________________ Date:_________________ Or Representative print name


HSRC Co-Chair _______________________ Date:_________________ Or Representative print name