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Treatment of psychopathology in people with intellectual and other disabilities.

OBJECTIVE: To review the psychosocial, pharmacological, and other treatments of psychopathology in people with intellectual disabilities (IDs), autism, and other developmental disabilities (DDs).

METHOD: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of psychosocial, pharmacological, and other treatments for people with DDs are reviewed.

RESULTS: There is strong evidence for applied behaviour analysis (ABA) and other behavioural treatments of some forms of psychopathology. There is little good evidence to support the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, sensory interventions, and other forms of psychosocial interventions. Recently, more randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychopharmacology have been published, especially with people with autism spectrum disorders. Most RCTs were for externalizing behaviour problems, rather than for psychopathology. These RCTs offer only preliminary support for the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy. No evidence was found for the effectiveness of other biological treatments.

CONCLUSIONS: Current research supports the use of ABA and other behavioural interventions for some forms of psychopathology. Evidence for the effectiveness of other interventions is limited or absent.

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