Intellectual disability is a condition that affects the mental ability to learn, reason and solve problems. Intellectual disability can affect anyone at any time in their lives. Intellectual disabilities are mainly caused by genetics or brain injury which changes how the brain works.
Intellectual disability can be treated with medication for things like depression, anxiety, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Intellectual disability can be treated by a special diet, doing physical exercise and taking vitamin supplements. Intellectual disabilities are diagnosed after an assessment of the child’s behavior compared to other children of their own age which determines if they have learning disorders or other developmental problems. It may also appear as a result from environmental factors such as prenatal exposure to alcohol and malnutrition during pregnancy.
Intellectual disabilities are diagnosed after an assessment of the child’s behavior compared to other children of their own age which determines if they have learning disorders or other developmental problems. It may also appear as a result from environmental factors such as prenatal exposure to alcohol and malnutrition during pregnancy.
An evaluation by a physician is used to assess intellectual functioning. If a child is believed to have an intellectual disability, the parents and teachers may also participate in testing. Specialists who can help diagnose this condition include developmental pediatrics, pediatricians, clinical geneticists or medical geneticists.
The following are the three adaptive capabilities that will be assessed during the evaluation:
- conceptual: the child’s ability to understand and apply information from the environment
- social: the child’s ability to use learned interpersonal skills in social situations;
- practical: the child’s ability to complete tasks at home and within their community.
A diagnosis of intellectual disability does not mean that a person has a more severe type of a disorder such as autism or cerebral palsy. However, it is possible for a person to have an intellectual disability and these disorders at the same time.
Intellectual disabilities are mainly caused by genetics or brain injury which changes how the brain works.
Researchers have found that genetic factors and abnormalities in some genes can play a role, as well as environmental factors such as prenatal exposure to alcohol and malnutrition during pregnancy.
In most cases of intellectual disability the cause is unknown. While both parents may carry a genetic mutation, the sibling of a child with an intellectual disability is not necessarily intellectually disabled. More than two-thirds of cases are believed to be caused by random mutations that occurred in either sperm or egg cells and were therefore present in the fertilized egg.
Genetic causes include:
Down syndrome (trisomy 21) – extra chromosome 21
Fragile X syndrome – a mutation of the FMR-protein gene on chromosome X, which is responsible for protein production in brain cells. Symptoms appear around age three to six years and may include: stuttering, lack of coordination skills or social withdrawal.
Rett syndrome – A genetic disorder that almost exclusively affects girls, causing a regression in development, such as loss of language and hand skills.
Neural tube defects – birth defect that involves incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord or their coverings; caused by deficiency or absence of folic acid during pregnancy
Cri Du Chat syndrome (chromosome deletion) – rare disorder characterized by an abnormality in the short arm of chromosome five. Symptoms include: high-pitched cry, seizures and intellectual disability
The most effective treatment for intellectual disabilities is early intervention, which focuses on maximizing the person’s capabilities. Special education programs may be needed to help with schoolwork and other activities in life. For children under five, parents need to focus on creating an environment that will stimulate their child’s development including playing games or singing songs together at home.
It can be treated with medication for things like depression, anxiety, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Intellectual disabilities are diagnosed after an assessment of the child’s behavior compared to others children of their own age which determines if they have learning disorders or other developmental problems.
Many types of supports can also help, which include:
- social skills training
- individual counseling
- supportive classes
Additionally, supports can come from family members, such as:
- learning about their condition
- how they express themselves and learn best, such as what can help them concentrate on certain tasks.
The next step is to determine the child’s needs and create a plan that will address those specific needs with measurable goals. A medical care team of doctors, nurses, educators and therapists may also be needed.
Some helpful ideas for adults include:
- developing a routine and sticking to it, such as making sure they get up at the same time every morning or go out with friends regularly; which will help them feel more independent
- staying active by doing things like walking around their neighborhood after dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV
- finding a job that they are interested in, but making sure to keep it challenging and not too difficult for them because their intelligence levels can vary greatly. It is also important to find work that has good benefits like health insurance
- learning about the world around them through classes or volunteering at local charities which will help improve self-esteem
- learning how to advocate for themselves and communicate with others, such as knowing when it is appropriate to ask someone else for help
People who have an intellectual disability can live happy lives. It may take longer than average to complete daily tasks or achieve certain milestones, but they can still do so successfully by using the right supports and having a positive attitude.
People with intellectual disabilities are three to ten times more likely to have a mental disorder compared to those who do not have an ID.
In addition, people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders tend to be diagnosed at a younger age than others without an intellectual disability because they may struggle communicating their feelings or problems in social situations. However, this does not mean that people with an intellectual disability cannot be diagnosed for these types of disorders.
In the United States, it is estimated that up to 90% have co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and ADHD along with their ID. In fact, ADHD occurs in children at a rate of about 50% compared to only 30 percent in children without an intellectual disability.
People diagnosed with schizophrenia are also more likely to have an ID than the general population because it is often difficult for them to cope in a regular classroom or find and maintain a job that will provide financial stability. In addition, they may not be able to take care of themselves well enough to avoid homelessness which can lead to mental health issues.
Additionally, people with an intellectual disability are twice as likely to be victims of violence and sexual assault than those without such disabilities because they may not understand appropriate boundaries or know how to ask for help when needed.
Conclusion: This blog has given you a brief overview of intellectual disability. We hope this information is helpful to you and your loved one’s who may have an intellectual disability. For more information on how the symptoms are treated, please contact our doctors for help!