Intellectual Disability(ID) formerly known as mental retardation is the most common developmental disability in the world. The prevalence of ID in the overall population was found to be 10.5 cases/1000, with 10.08/1000 in rural, and 11/1000 in the urban population in India. Males are more likely than females to be diagnosed with intellectual disability. Children suffering from ID have delayed or complete impairment in intellectual functions (like reasoning, planning, problem-solving, abstract thinking, comprehending complex ideas, learning quickly and learning from experience) and adaptive skills(routines, maintaining hygiene, etc). This impairment may cause the child to need constant support to cope with the challenges of the world. There are levels in the impairment starting from mild to profound. Along with this, the child is at high risk for several mental health, neurodevelopmental, medical and physical conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, ADHD, ASD, depression as well as anxiety disorders.
There are different kinds of ID:
Down syndrome: This is when a child is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21 in their DNA. They have slant eyes, short neck, small head and ears, and poor muscle tone. Children with this disorder may look similar but have very different personalities, some common characteristics may include impulsivity, short attention span, and learning difficulties. Children with Down Syndrome may have heart defects or other medical issues.
Fragile X Syndrome: It is caused by a genetic defect in the X Chromosome(Mutation in DNA). The child may have large ears, a long face, a prominent jaw, forehead, and flat feet. Symptoms may include seizures, delays in talking, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This syndrome is usually passed down from parents. The mothers may have been carrying the gene in them.
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS): Genetic disorder usually caused by the deletion of a part of chromosome 15 passed down by the father. The most common symptoms of Prader-Willi syndrome are behavioral problems, intellectual disability, and short stature. Constant hunger may lead to obesity and there is a delay in puberty due to hormonal issues.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD): As the name suggest this disorder is caused due to exposure of alcohol to the fetus in the mother’s womb. This can easily be prevented by abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy. Symptoms include aggression, antisocial behavior, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or irritability, a congenital heart defect. Often due to these syndromes and disorders, there is a delay in several developmental areas. When that happens, it’s called “global developmental delay.” There is a failure to thrive (which focuses on lack of weight gain and physical development). The sooner ID is detected the better. There is no cure but early and ongoing intervention may improve functioning and enable the person to thrive throughout their lifetime.
Some signs to look out for are given below:
â¦ Sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children
â¦ Learn to talk later or have trouble speaking
â¦ Have trouble understanding social rules
â¦ Have trouble seeing the consequences of their actions
â¦ Have trouble solving problems
â¦ Have trouble thinking logically but sometimes a child may show the above signs and still not have ID whereas sometimes nothing may seem out of the ordinary and when the child starts school, problems may arise.