Published by Wood ‘N’ Barnes, Oklahoma City
Available at www.woodnbarnes.com
Review by David S. Prescott
Clinicians working with developmental delayed sexual abusers are familiar
with the astonishing dearth of resources for this and similar populations.
In addition to an upcoming book by Jim Haaven, Wood’N’Barnes
have produced a two-volume set that provides a succinct but comprehensive
overview of areas vital to understanding and treating this population.
Both volumes are written in a sympathetic and straightforward style,
and will be of considerable benefit to anyone working with this population.
Throughout the set, Blasingame continually sharpens his focus, beginning
with a chapter on “sexuality at a glance”, through considerations
on sexuality among developmentally delayed people, to sexually abusive
and objectionable behaviors among this population. Clinical and forensic
issues are discussed with extensive support from the literature. There
is an overview of assessment and treatment methods that will serve
as both an introduction to newer clinicians, and provide useful ideas
those more experienced. Areas of consideration specific to this population
range from mental age to counterfeit deviance. There is also a focus
on how laws designed to protect the developmentally delayed can also
inhibit their healthy sexual development, as well as discussion of
competence and culpability. Blasingame concludes with ideas for building
within community and group care settings
Blasingame’s style will no doubt elicit compassion for this
population. He reviews factors that influence the development and well
being of developmentally
delayed individuals, including the higher incidence of sexual victimization
and the shocking extent of abuse in placement by service providers.
It also includes common perceptions of this population as more childlike,
and the subsequent discomfort of families and providers coming to
with the sexuality of the developmentally delayed. Blasingame further
takes on controversial areas ranging from sexuality policy to the
use of pornography and treatment of denial as well as less understood
such as the use of polygraphy and actuarial risk assessment scales.
In every case, Blasingame refers to diverse areas of research to arrive
at his conclusions.
In the second volume, Blasingame includes the Program Manual as well
as numerous forms and worksheets from his agency. In addition to a
brief overview of cognitive-behavioral strategies and relapse prevention,
includes an overview of a useful “ladder to trouble” or
potential offense chain. Blasingame produces worksheets that will be
diverse settings. A consent form, safety plans, ideas for healthy self-talk,
an overview of thinking errors, and self-statements regarding decision-making
and boundaries are provided.
Although not stated, this set is the result of many years of working
directly with this population, as well as strong attempts to ensure
best practices through an empirically grounded approach. Although based
his own program, the set never appears as an advertisement of his
services. To the contrary, these volumes incorporate many of the best
of others in the field. Blasingame’s standards for evaluation
are conservative while his treatment approach is inventive and refreshing.
The result is an experience that challenges practitioners to become
the more understanding and engaging.