Kate Eden’s work at the Cerebra Centre is looking at the expression of pain in people with intellectual disability. Many of these individuals are unable to self report the discomfort they are experiencing. In order to overcome this problem, researchers have developed observational measures that ask respondents to record the presence of behavioral indicators of pain such as negative facial expressions, vocalisations and changes in activity level. Kate is testing the inter-rater reliability of such measures between parents, teachers and researchers.
Previous research has shown that challenging behaviours such as self injury and aggression are more frequent and more severe when pain is present. Exploring this association between pain and challenging behaviour in children with intellectual disability has become the main focus of Kate’s PhD.