chapter  2
Risk and Protective Factors in the Lives of Children With High-Incidence Disabilities
Pages 18

Barbara Keogh, whose distinguished contributions to special education we honor in this volume, reminds us that effective programs of assessment, prevention and intervention need to consider not only the risk factors in the lives of children with developmental disabilities, but also the protective factors that allow some of these individuals to make a successful transition into adolescence and adulthood (Keogh & Weisner, 1993). Longitudinal research with “at-risk” children has made us cognizant of the fact that (a) predictions of future outcomes are more accurate for groups rather than for individuals within groups, (b) outcomes vary according to the time and content of assessment, and (c) at any time risk conditions may be buffered by the presence of protective factors. Thus, the probability of adverse consequences is not fixed or the same across individuals with developmental disabilities. These caveats apply to all types of research undertaken with a developmental perspective: that is, research that focuses on predisposing risk factors (e.g., parental psychopathology); research that monitors the consequences of an adverse event in the pre-, peri-, and postnatal period (e.g., preterm birth); and research with infants and young children with identified problems (e.g., Down syndrome).