Amenable for psychological interventions? Case report of a child with multiple developmental disabilities and challenging behaviours

  • Poornima V
  • M Nithya Poornima
  • Arul Jayendra Pradeep
  • John Vijay Sagar Kommu


Intellectual disability (ID) with comorbid Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can have complex and challenging behavioural presentations, in the context of socio-emotional issues such as attachment ruptures and bereavement. It is important to incorporate appropriate psychological interventions that also address the underlying emotional needs of the child in addition to the management of behaviours. This case report is of a 12- year- old boy with ID, ASD, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The child presented with anger outbursts, self-harm and harming of others, and exacerbation of problem behaviours in the context of the recent death of his grandfather. There were also various psychosocial issues such as insecure attachment, depression in the mother, multiple caregivers, and expressed emotions. The child improved with the addition of attachment informed interventions. The report highlights the importance of going beyond pharmacotherapy and behavioural interventions to address the underlying socio-emotional needs of the child.

Case Reports