Signs of Cognitive Change in Adolescents and Young Adults with Intellectual Disability

Dr. Fran Conners, The University of Alabama

This study will be conducted by the Conners Lab at The University of Alabama as a pilot study for a potential grant-funded study in the future. One characteristic of Down syndrome is accelerated aging, which can include declines in memory and other cognitive skills. Another is heightened risk for Alzheimer’s Dementia. In this study, we are trying to identify very early signs of cognitive change in people with intellectual disability. Identifying these could lead to future treatments that could slow the decline. The goals of the study are 1) to identify early changes in memory and language, 2) to identify early behavioral changes (like sleep patterns and social engagement), and 3) to link the first two goals to symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is a diagnosable condition and a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Dementia.

Well-Being and the Social Experiences of Adolescents with Intellectual Disability

Jenna Reardanz, Graduate Student

Research shows that children and adolescents with intellectual disability are at a higher risk to experience peer victimization compared to their typically developing peers. This stud develops measures for this population that will be used in future research on the possible consequences of peer victimization, such as anxiety, depression, acting out, etc. The information learned in this study will used to obtain federal funding for a larger study. The study focuses on adolescents with intellectual disability age 11-18.