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Essential Facts About Intellectual Disability Services

By Mattie Knight


Intellectual disability, initially known as mental retardation, refers to impairment in brain development resulting in intelligence that is below average. This means affected people find great difficulty in handling tasks that unaffected persons would otherwise find easily surmountable. For this reason, different intellectual disability services are made available in Portsmouth for affected individuals to better themselves. A variety of terms are used synonymously with intellectual disability. Some of them are general learning disability and intellectual development disorder (IDD).

For a person to be diagnosed with intellectual disability, certain criterion is used according to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). First, individuals must be deficient in general mental capabilities. Secondly these individuals are usually unable to adapt to the social environment in terms of communication skills and so forth. These disorders should be observed in childhood. This serves as a distinction from other forms of brain function impairment such as dementia.

General learning disability can be said to be either a syndrome or a non syndrome. Downs is one of the disorders involved in the syndromic category. In the non underlying anomalies can be detected. In both, patients present with symptoms that are behavioral in nature. They are unable to look after themselves, they lack the ability to communicate effectively and do not remember events that happened in the recent past.

Causes of intellectual disability may be divided into genetic, nutritional, environmental, behavioral causes and others. The genetic disorders associated with IDD are Klinefelter and Downs syndrome. Environmental causes include exposure to toxins such as lead. Behavioral causes are those seen in expectant mothers who take alcohol. Sometimes, pregnant women infected with rubella may pass the infection to the fetus if not promptly treated causing brain impairment. Malnutrition is a common causative factor in the developing world. In a few cases, the cause is unknown.

There are a variety of services available for persons with IDD all over the world. These services aim at equipping affected individuals with the necessary skills required to go through their day to day lives successfully. Whereas some agencies run only during the day, some take it upon themselves to not only offer shelter but also secure the future of these individuals through offering them employment.

Every person has a role to play in rehabilitating persons with IDD, starting from the guardian to the clinician, to members of the community. Their role may fall under any four groups including behavioral, psycho-social, family based and cognitive treatment. Psycho-social intervention is done early in the life of a child before they start going to school. Children are taught simple skills, they are given the freedom of exploring and are trained the same thing over and over again until they master the given skill. They are also rewarded whenever they achieve a certain goal.

The behavioral approach of intervention incorporates attainment of language and social skills. This is done under the guidance of a skills therapist on a one on one basis with other aid of shapes, pictures and other visual aids. Older children also benefit from this treatment since they are able to acquire skills such as smiling, sharing, communicating and even obeying instructions. An advanced form assistance takes into account both psycho-social and behavioral treatments. Children are taught language, math and other academic units that require them to exercise their ability to learn and remember.

In as much as medical treatment is not the mainstay of management of general learning disorders, they come in handy when complications arise. An example is in autistic children who sometimes may experience uncontrollable behavioral states. Mood stabilizers may be given but close monitoring for any adverse reactions should be done.




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