Temper outbursts are one of the most commonly reported behavior problems of children, adolescents and adults with PWS. Outbursts cause increased stress for families and costs for the community. Despite this, there is currently no known treatment. Meditation on the Soles of the Feet (SoF) is a mindfulness-based intervention designed specifically to help individuals with an intellectual disability regulate their emotions. One scientific trial showed SoF can significantly reduce rates of physical and verbal aggression in individuals with ID. Furthermore, three single-case experimental studies suggest SoF can reduce physical and verbal aggression in adolescent boys with PWS.
Individuals with PWS have difficulty switching their attention from one thought to another, which can increase the likelihood of an outburst. Some individuals with PWS have reported that they can prevent an outburst from occurring if they have a set activity in place that they can use to switch their attention away from the cause of upset. SoF teaches the person to recognize the precursors to their anger/frustration/upset, disengage attention from the cause and redirect their attention to the soles of their feet. Thus, we hypothesize that regular practice with SoF may make it easier for individuals with PWS to implement this technique during times of emotional arousal.
To scientifically evaluate this hypothesis, we propose to use a randomized wait-list controlled trial to evaluate whether Meditation on the Soles of the Feet can facilitate self-management of outbursts and anxiety-related behaviors in individuals with PWS. If shown to be effective, families will be able to access SoF immediately.
This project was funded by the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada
Stewart Einfeld, PhD
University of Sydney