Video clips improve health advocacy

By Maurice Feldman, PhD
Brock University, Canada

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) have unequal access to health-care. While public policy and medical practice are starting to address health inequalities, more evidence-based programs are needed to teach health self-advocacy skills so that persons with ID can take more control of their health care.

What did you do in your research?
We designed a health self-advocacy curriculum that taught people with ID to recognize their health rights, such as having a doctor speak to you in a way that you would understand. To test whether the curriculum worked, we ran small groups who learned health self-advocacy while playing a game. Players watched short video clips and had to say whether the person's health right were being violated and what the person could do about it (for example, ask the doctor to explain what she was saying using simpler words). Trainers provided positive feedback and modeled correct answers. We compared the health self-advocacy skills of the participants who played the game to persons who did not play the game.

What did you find out?
The participants who played the game had higher scores on self-advocacy measures and actual use of self-advocacy skills than the participants who did not play the game. The participants really liked playing the game and felt they learned a lot about advocating for their health rights in a respectful and responsible way.

What are the take-home messages?
When training uses video examples, persons with ID can learn to recognize when their health rights are being violated, and how to defend their rights.

To learn more about these findings and products contact Theresa Terreberry or visit Project Website.

Full Journal Article
Feldman, M.A., Owen, F., Andrews, A. Hamelin, J., Barber, R. & Griffiths, D. (2012). Health self-advocacy training for persons with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56(11), 1110-1121.

Andrews, A., Bishop, C., Agnew, S., Hamelin, J., Griffiths. D., Owen, F., & Feldman, M. (2010). Teaching health self-advocacy skills to adults with intellectual disabilities.  Welland, ON: Community Living Welland Pelham.