2017 Volume 13 Pages 76-88
Children with severe motor and intellectual disabilities (hereinafter, "children with SMID") produce only slight movements in response to surrounding influences, and it is difficult to evaluate their remaining sensory functions through behavioral observation alone. In this study, we focused on a first-grade Junior high-school student (hereinafter, "Student A") with concurrent visual (light perception only) and hearing (complete deafness) disabilities in addition to severe motor and intellectual disabilities, who was attending a "Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged", and we evaluated the student's sensory functions using the heart rate index. As a result, an orienting response, where the presentation of visual light and color stimuli coincides with a transient reduction in heart rate, was found to be highly reproducible, which suggests that the student perceives visual stimuli. Similarly, in response to facial stimuli, Student A's heart rate response to familiar and unfamiliar faces differed, with the heart rate decreasing in response to unfamiliar faces, and increasing in response to familiar faces. Based on this, it seems likely that Student A differentiates faces, and that his heart rate response differs depending on his affinity for the face. While Student A's visual functionality was previously diagnosed by a physician as light perception only, the results of this study suggest that Student A may retain the visual functionality to differentiate and recognize people.