Intellectual Disability & Mental Retardation

Signs that intellectual disability could be present in your child

Depending on the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), the clinical image of a child with intellectual disability can differ.

When they hit school, kids with a mild ID will not be diagnosed. They have backwardness from scholastics. Compared with their peers, social and communication skills tend to fall behind as they grow older. Vocational skills can remain adequately adequate to sustain themselves. Although some social and vocational skills are achieved by these children, they need a supportive environment.

Usually, children with Mild ID are diagnosed at a younger age. They have learning problems and are also impaired by communication and social skills. They are able to acquire some vocational skill in supportive environments and a high degree of supervision.

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual deficiency, what is it?

In two areas, anyone with intellectual disability has limitations. Those fields are:

Intellectual process. Also known as IQ, this refers to the capacity of a person to think, reason, make choices, and solve issues.

Adaptive habits. These are skills that are needed for daily life, such as being able to communicate effectively, communicate with others and take care of yourself.

An IQ test tests the IQ (intelligence quotient). With the majority of individuals scoring between 85 and 115, the average IQ is 100. If he or she has an IQ of less than 70 to 75, a person is considered intellectually disabled. So, in order to assess the coping behaviours of a child, a psychologist may observe the strengths of the child and equate them with other children of the same age. Moreover, things that can be observed include how well the child can feed or dress himself or herself; how well the child can communicate with others and understand them; and how the child communicates with families, peers, and other children of the same age.

It is believed that intellectual disability affects approximately 1 percent of the population. Moreover, 85 percent of those affected have moderate intellectual disability. This suggests that learning new knowledge or skills is only a little slower than normal. Therefore, many would be able to live comfortably as adults, with the right help.

In girls, what are the signs of intellectual disability?

In infants, there are several different signs of intellectual disability. During infancy, symptoms may occur, or they may not be visible before a child reaches school age. So, it also depends on the disability’s severity. The most common symptoms of intellectual disability are some of the following:

  • Roll over, sit down, crawl, or walk late,
  • Speaking late or having problems speaking
  • Slow to master items like potty training, clothes, and self-feeding
  • Difficulty recalling stuff
  • Inability to connection acts with implications
  • Problems of behaviour like explosive tantrums
  • Difficulty solving problems or critical thinking

There may be other health issues in children with serious or profound intellectual impairment as well. So, these issues can include convulsions, mood disorders (anxiety, autism, etc.), deterioration of motor skills, vision problems, or hearing problems.

What are the key triggers?

The triggers can be different and multi-factorial at times.

Many genetic diseases may lead to certain syndromal disorders that as part of their symptomatology, may have ID; for example, Down’s Syndrome.

Often diseases acquired by a mother during pregnancy or exposure to radiation or illicit drugs (consumed by a pregnant mother) by the developing foetus, e.g. alcohol. A contributing factor may be some complications of pregnancy, such as hypoxia in the newborn.

Complications post pregnancy may also be causative.

Head trauma, diseases, and other childhood conditions can be responsible even in the early developmental period.

Treatment/Therapy for Intellectual Disability

In terms of either scholastic problems or behavioral problems, most parents who accompany their children do so. In cases of extreme ID, parents may be present with a younger child. Parents may recognize the signs later on in cases of mild to moderate ID.

  • In terms of clinical history, the kids are tested in depth. The past right from conception to pre-natal history to birth history to post-natal to developmental history is noted in children’s cases. In order to determine aetiology, history is necessary. In cases of severe/ deep ID, the aetiology is simpler. It can require a neurological examination. Additional testing in the form of chromosomal studies, urine and blood examination, electroencephalography, neuroimaging and other tests may be performed in certain infants, such as hearing and speech assessments.
  • Psychological testing (IQ tests) may be necessary in certain cases to determine the diagnosis. Psychological assessment is also recommended, once clinically diagnosed, to diagnose the severity of the ID.
  • Once diagnosed and the severity identified, further management is highly dependent on the severity of the ID. Vocational training is recommended in mild and moderate situations. The teaching of child self-care and basic communication is more relevant in serious and profound cases. Certification is highly recommended in all situations.
  • Drugs can be indicated for behavioural disorders. In moderate or borderline cases, remedial instruction may be tried for scholastic difficulties. Advice on the diagnosis of the child and learning parenting skills/techniques to cope with child behavioural problems are becoming more important for certain parents.

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