intellectual disability vs mental retardation
Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18 and encompasses a wide range of conditions, types, and levels. An understanding of the nature of intellectual disability is essential for health care professionals, who are required to support equal access to their services for all disabled people. Doctors have found many causes of intellectual disabilities. The most common are:
1. Genetic conditions. Sometimes an intellectual disability is caused by abnormal genes inherited from parents, errors when genes combine, or other reasons. Examples of genetic conditions are Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and phenylketonuria (PKU).
2. Problems during pregnancy. An intellectual disability can result when the baby does not develop inside the mother properly. For example, there may be a problem with the way the baby’s cells divide as it grows. A woman who drinks alcohol or gets an infection like rubella during pregnancy may also have a baby with an intellectual disability.
3. Problems at birth. If a baby has problems during labor and birth, such as not getting enough oxygen, he or she may have an intellectual disability.
4. Health problems. Diseases like whooping cough, the measles, or meningitis can cause intellectual disabilities. They can also be caused by extreme malnutrition (not eating right), not getting enough medical care, or by being exposed to poisons like lead or mercury.
An intellectual disability is not a disease. You can’t catch an intellectual disability from anyone. It’s also not a type of mental illness, like depression. There is no cure for intellectual disabilities. However, most children with an intellectual disability can learn to do many things. It just takes them more time and effort than other children. There are many signs of an intellectual disability. For example, children with an intellectual disability may:
1. sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children;
2. learn to talk later, or have trouble speaking,
3. find it hard to remember things,
4. not understand how to pay for things,
5. have trouble understanding social rules,
6. have trouble seeing the consequences of their actions,
7. have trouble solving problems, and/or
8. Have trouble thinking logically.
A person with an intellectual disability may need assistance with daily living skills such as self-care, communication and community access and participation. Always demonstrate respect for the person and communicate in ways that acknowledge the age of the person and the value of their contribution.