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A 43-year-old man with mild intellectual disabilities was referred after several contacts with the law when he had been seen in the street talking to children who were unknown to him. Some staff members feared that he had a sexual interest in children. Other colleagues considered that the behaviour was innocent, reflecting his friendly nature, but that it was a behaviour which was misinterpreted by others. The present paper charts the assessment of this man's difficulties and abilities over a wide range of relevant areas, and a reassessment following an intensive period of one-to-one training on age-recognition skills. Although the training was unsuccessful, the measures used assisted in making a detailed assessment and providing clear instructions to care staff, all of which was to the subject's long-term benefit. The present paper also illustrates the way in which difficulties of this nature can be assessed and uses allied assessment measures which may be helpful in looking at the whole picture of any person with such problems. It also considers how these areas may then be addressed. Although, in this case, the subject was unable to learn to discriminate specific age groups despite intensive training, he was consequently able to be advised in a manner which should keep him from getting into trouble in the future and the now detailed knowledge of his abilities in all these areas is valuable for his long-term support in the community.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Publication Date





159 - 168