Intellectual Disability Essay
For many years, society has used the word “retard” as slang, to refer to an individual’s level of intelligence – Intellectual Disability Essay introduction. Although we joke around and use this term frequently, there is a population of the community that lives with an Intellectual Disability every day. The early word used to acknowledge Intellectual Disability was Mental Retardation. The term Mental Retardation was changed on October 5, 2010, when President Obama signed the Rosa Law which omitted Mental Retardation and presented Intellectual Disability, (Sweet, 2010). The long used term “Mental Retardation” left an undesirable stigma that needed to be changed.
Intellectual Disability is defined as a fundamental difficulty in learning and performing certain daily life skills, (Health, 1992). The personal capabilities in which there must be a substantial limitation are conceptual, practical, and social intelligence, (Health 1992). These areas are most affected with individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Based alone on IQ tests about three percent of the population is considered to have intellectual disabilities and only one percent was labeled with having significant cognitive limitation, (Sulkes, 2009).
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There are different levels of intellectual disabilities that are based on IQ scores. Mild Intellectual Disability has an IQ score of 52-69. People with this usually suffer from slightly impaired motor coordination ; it is often diagnosed later in age. Children that suffer with a mild disability can develop socially and have good communication skills. These individuals can be expected to learn up to a sixth grade level, by their late teens. In adulthood, these individuals will need guidance and assistance during times of unusual social or economic stress.
In most cases these individuals can achieve vocational skills for self-support. Moderate Intellectual Disability has an IQ score that ranges from 36-51. In preschool, they show poor social awareness with fair motor coordination. They are able to learn to speak and communicate with others. They are expected to learn at the elementary level and may learn to travel alone in familiar places. They may learn some social and occupational skills. By adolescence, they will need assistance with economic and social decisions. They may achieve self-support by doing unskilled or semi-skilled work under heltered conditions. In severe cases of Intellectual Disability, an individual’s IQ score ranges from 20-35. At the preschool age, these children are able to learn some self-help and limited speech. These children often display poor motor skills. At the elementary level, they can learn simple health habits and often benefit from habit training skills. They are also able to learn how to talk and learn to communicate. By adolescence, they are able to develop some self-protection skills, skills in a controlled environment, and contribute partially to self-care.
A wide variety of medical and environmental conditions can cause Intellectual Disability. In some cases Intellectual Disability may be genetic, some symptoms are present before or at the time of conception, others occur during pregnancy, during birth, or after birth. We know that a problem occurs with the development of the brain. Doctors can identify a specific cause in only about one-third of people with mild Intellectual Disability and two-thirds of people with moderate to profound Intellectual Disability, (Sulkes, 2009). In most cases, the symptoms can be detected at birth or shortly thereafter, showing abnormalities to the baby.
These abnormalities are generally physical and neurological. There may be unusual face features, a head that is too large or too small, or deformities to the hands and feet. Others may look like a normal baby, but have signs of serious illness like seizures, lethargy, vomiting, abnormal urine odor, and failure to feed and grow normally, (Sulkes, 2009). Many children with severe Intellectual Disability at a young age are not able to develop proper motor skills and often have trouble learning how to roll over, sit, and stand; although, most children do not show symptoms until the preschool years.
The first sign is usually a slow development in language. Children with Intellectual Disability are slower to use words, put words together, and speak in complete sentences. Their social development is slow because of cognitive impairment and language deficiencies. These children with special needs often need more help learning how to dress and feed themselves. Children with an Intellectual Disability are more likely than other children to have behavioral problems such as explosive outbursts, temper tantrums, and physically aggressive behavior, (Sulkes, 2009).
These behaviors can be attributed to frustrating situations compounded by an impaired ability to communicate and control their impulses. Doctors evaluate a child suspected of having Intellectual Disability by testing intellectual functioning and looking for the cause. Even though the cause may be irreversible, identifying a disorder that caused the disability may allow doctors to predict the child’s future needs and prevent further loss of skills. It also gives the parents the early chance to improve a child’s level of functioning, and gives them the appropriate knowledge for any children planned in the future, (Sulkes, 2009).
Parents with babies that have abnormalities or other symptoms of Intellectual Disability need to be tested to help detect metabolic and genetic disorders. Tests like the Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging are used to detect problems that reside in the brain. Interviewing the parents, along with observing the child’s behavior may help with a correct diagnosis of the child. To even go a step further, parents rely on other standardized tests, for example, evaluators administer the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children to determine an individual’s intellectual disability.
The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales monitor areas of communication, daily living regiments, social capabilities, and motor skills, (Sulkes, 2009). These tests are great because they are designed to compare intellectual and social skills in children of the same age groups. The diagnoses is only complete when the child’s intellectual and adaptive performance is well below average. There are steps for reducing a parent’s chance of having a child with Intellectual Disability. For instance, a common cause of Down’s Syndrome is fetal alcohol syndrome, which is easily avoidable if the mother does not consume alcohol while she is pregnant.
Programs like the March of Dimes reaches out to women in the communities and educates them of the consequences of drinking while pregnant. Other preventions include environment, genetic, infectious disorders, and accidental injuries. Genetic testing may be requested by a doctor to determine if there is any known heredity disorders, an example would be phenylketonuria, Tay-Sachs disease, and fragile X syndrome. Finding these genes allows genetic doctors to help parents with the proper decisions in having an affected child.
When planning to have a child, women should receive the right vaccinations, particularly against rubella. With proper parenting, the risk of a child that has Intellectual Disabilities can be prevented. Vitamins such as Folate, if taken correctly, can prevent certain types of brain abnormalities. Tests like ultrasound, amniocentesis, chronic villus sampling, and certain blood tests can identify conditions that may result in an Intellectual Disability. Those tests are good for women over the age of thirty-five, since they are pre- disposed to have children born with Intellectual Disabilities.
Measuring a woman’s maternal serum is a helpful resource for screening for neural tube defects, Down’s Syndrome, and other abnormalities. A few conditions, such a hydro- cephalus and severe Rh may be treated during pregnancy. When children with an Intellectual Disability become adults, many questions arise. Questions like, should adults with the disability be able to procreate? This is a good question and should be based on individual circumstances. The different levels of Intellectual Disability would help in determining whether an individual would be capable of making the proper decisions that go along with parenting.
In a recent movie “I Am Sam” that I watched, a man with Intellectual Disability took the challenges of raising a child without any disabilities. Although he had mild Intellectual Disability, with the support of others he still maintained the duties of a parent. Throughout the movie the man’s parental skills were challenged. In times of stress, the man did not always know how to respond approximately to situations. In these times, he had the help of friends and social workers to guide him through the difficult experiences.
In our society, there are individuals that are not as blessed with intellectual skills as a normal functioning person has. They may look and think differently than the average person. Although they are different, it does not mean they are stupid or should be considered a lower class than the normal citizen. These are people that have a disability that impairs them from learning and retaining knowledge. It does not mean that they do not feel sad or get angry. It means that when they are sad or angry, they might not understand why. Individuals with an Intellectual Disability are humans and should be treated with the respect that they deserve.