This disability was and is still known in many areas as mental retardation. It may occur in isolation or in combination with physical disorders. Combinations are frequently seen in the case of conditions such as Down syndrome and the Foeatal alcohol system. The predisposing factors are numerous and are classified as social, biomedical, behavioural and educational. Infections that occur in pregnancy and in the perinatal period are particularly notorious.
One of the biggest challenges that affect these people is the difficulty in learning new things. They tend to take a long time to grasp issues. For this reason, one needs to have a lot of patience when teaching them. There is a need to repeat things several times for the child to understand. As a result, many of the affected children have to be enrolled into special schools where they will be given individualised attention.
While some of the cases are obvious from the onset, there are many others that have rather subtle features. It is important that the affected child is reviewed by a psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis to be made. There are three main things that must be present for a proper diagnosis to be made: an onset at an age of less than 18, accompanying intellectual limitations and the presence of compromised adaptive behaviour.
Adaptive behaviour has three main components. These are conceptual skills, practical skills and social skills. The conceptual skills are those that are related to money, number concepts, language and literacy and self direction. Social skills are useful in the creation and maintenance of interpersonal skills. Practical skills are useful for virtually all the activities we do on a daily basis. These include personal grooming, eating, and playing. The extent of limitation varies among affected persons.
The different classifications used for groups of individuals affected help in creating appropriate management options. When assessing a child for the condition it is important to consider the immediate surroundings. The community in which a child grows up has a big influence on what kind of adult they will grow into. The child can only be said to have a limitation when compared to their immediate community and not any other.
Research has established that a number of things can be done so as to minimise the chances of having a child suffering from the disability. One area that ca be used for intervention is social support. Expectant women should get proper nutrition and care to provide a conducive environment for foetal growth. Genetic counselling of prospective couples is another strategy that has had tremendous success.
Intellectual disability is said to be the most common form of developmental disabilities all over the world. The limitation presents a huge challenge to both the affected children and their parents. When timely intervention is instituted, the affected persons can be trained to lead near normal lives. It should be noted that this condition is not a disease or a mental illness.