WHAT IS AN INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY?
Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability which results in poor intellectual functioning (like learning, judgement, problem solving and communication) and adaptive behaviour (like social skills, everyday routines, hygiene).
This disability affects around one percent of the population and is a result of a brain that hasn’t developed properly or has undergone an injury. 85% of those people who have Intellectual Disability (ID) usually have mild intellectual disability.
Intellectual disability was previously termed as mental retardation which is no longer used.
ID reduces the ability to understand new/complex information and to learn and apply them. Therefore this further affects the ability to cope which makes them dependent which affects their further development. Adaptive functions can be divided into:
Conceptual: problems in reading, language, writing, math, memory, reasoning and knowledge
Social: empathy towards others feelings and thoughts, communication, social judgements, following rules
Practical: personal hygiene, organizations of tasks, recreation, personal care, jobs responsibilities
Adaptive functioning is measured through standardized steps with individuals and interviews with family members, teachers and caregivers.
TYPES AND SYMPTOMS
There are 4 levels of varying IDs :
1. Mild intellectual disability
Taking longer to talk
Self independent when older for personal care
Problems reading and writing
Difficulty with social responsibilities
Having an 1Q range from 50-69
2. Moderate intellectual disability
Difficulty in communicating
Know basic reading, writing and counting
Usually unable to live alone
Slow with language
Can make their way to known familiar places
Can partake in social activities
Having an 1Q range from 35-49
3. Severe intellectual disability
Abnormal development or several damage to the Central Nervous System of the brain
Having an 1Q range from 20-34
4. Profound intellectual disability
Inability to process or follow instructions
Dependent on others for their own needs
Help, supervision required constantly
Basic, non verbal communication
Having an 1Q range which is less than 20
There is a category of ID called the other intellectual disability where people are physically impaired with hearing/ vision loss and are non verbal.
Exposure of mother to drugs alcohol during pregnancy
Biological factors, genes, inheritance, down syndrome
Abnormal brain development/ brain injury
Insufficient oxygen during birth (hypoxia)
Severe emotional abuse
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
This would include:
Standardized tests-imagining tests, genetics/lab tests, formal intellectual and skills testing
Seeing specialists: psychologist, speech pathologist, pediatric neurologist, developmental pediatrician and physical therapist
Therapies like behaviour therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medication and counselling can be taken up.