Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 241–252 | Cite as

A Telehealth Parent-Mediated Mindfulness-Based Health Wellness Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

  • Rachel E. MyersEmail author
  • Bryan T. Karazsia
  • Eunjin Kim
  • Monica M. Jackman
  • Carrie L. McPherson
  • Nirbhay N. Singh


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) face difficulties in making lifestyle changes because of lack of community and professional awareness and specialist services. Some services, such as for health wellness, are even more difficult for people with IDD to acquire if they live in remote areas or they cannot access specialist services in their community. Telehealth is beginning to be used to fill this service need. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of providing telehealth training to parents on a mindfulness-based health wellness (MBHW) program that they then taught their children to implement. Thirty-two overweight or obese adolescents and young adults were taught a five-component MBHW program, and its effects on their body weight were assessed within a changing criterion design. The intervention included physical exercise, healthy eating and nutrition, mindful eating, mindful response to thoughts of hunger, and a mindfulness practice to control the urge to eat. The 30 participants who successfully completed the whole program had an average weight of 164.2 lb at baseline (pre-intervention), lost an average of 38.27 lb by the end of intervention, and maintained their target weight for four consecutive years at a mean weight of 127.37 lb. On average, they reduced their body mass index (BMI) from a mean of 29.54 at entry into the program to 22.80 by the end of intervention, and maintained their BMI at a mean of 23.03 during the 4-year follow-up. In addition, the participants’ social validity ratings showed great satisfaction with the program in meeting their desired weight goals, and they unanimously indicated that they would recommend the program to their peers. The data suggest that the MBHW program was effective with the participants and further evaluation using a randomized controlled trial appears warranted.


Lifestyle Mindfulness-based health wellness program Changing criterion design Weight loss BMI Maintenance Social validity 



Some of the data included in this paper were first presented at the ATAD First International Conference: Assistive Technology and Disabilities, October 46, 2017, Salesian Pontifical University, Piazza dell’Ateneo Salesiano, 1 00139 Rome Italy. The first author acknowledges support of release time by the WellStar School of Nursing, Kennesaw State University, for this presentation.


Preparation of this article was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (NRF-2010-361 A00008) funded by the Korean Government (MEST).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WellStar School of NursingKennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe College of WoosterWoosterUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Mind HumanitiesWonkwang UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  4. 4.Little Lotus Therapy and ConsultingPort St. LucieUSA
  5. 5.McPherson Therapy and ConsultingGreenvilleUSA
  6. 6.Medical College of GeorgiaAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA

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