Do individuals with intellectual disability select appropriate objects as landmarks when learning a new route?
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume 57, Issue 1, pages 80–89, January 2013
How to Cite
Courbois, Y., Blades, M., Farran, E. K. and Sockeel, P. (2013), Do individuals with intellectual disability select appropriate objects as landmarks when learning a new route?. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57: 80–89. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01518.x
- Issue published online: 10 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 12 MAR 2012
- Accepted 25 November 2011
- intellectual disability;
Background The present study was aimed at investigating the selection of landmarks by individuals with intellectual disability (ID). The hypothesis was that they would be less efficient than individuals without IDs in the selection of landmarks when learning a new route.
Methods The experiment took place in a natural setting with a group of participants with ID and a group of control participants matched by chronological age. The participants were first guided along a route situated in an unfamiliar district. Then, they had to guide the experimenter along the route while pointing to all the objects and features they found useful for wayfinding.
Results The designated objects were categorised as a function of their landmarks properties. There were significant differences between the two groups for non-permanent landmarks, distant landmarks and non-unique landmarks. The two groups selected landmarks near intersections in the same proportions. However, the individuals with ID selected more non-unique landmarks and less textual signage than the control group at these decision points.
Conclusion Individuals with ID seem to be less efficient than individuals without disability in landmark selection. This may limit their wayfinding abilities in their day-to-day travelling. This may also account for their difficulties in obtaining the kind of spatial knowledge which relates to the configural structure of their environment.