Intellectual Disability

A person with intellectual disability has intellectual functioning which is significantly below average. Together with this, he/she has limitations in adaptive behaviour which affects his/her self-help, living or social skills. It is not an illness or a disease, but a condition, which can occur anytime before, during or after birth (before 18 years of age)

The causes of Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability may occur before birth due to inheritance, chromosomal abnormality or trauma, malnutrition and infection to the mother. It may also occur during birth due to asphyxia leading to brain damage during prolonged labour and trauma. Finally, it can also occur after birth through infections and injury leading to brain damage. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many cases of intellectual disability that have no known causes.

Some characteristics of persons with intellectual disability

Persons with intellectual disability typically have short attention span and difficulties remembering information. They typically lack the ability to regulate their own behaviour or other people's actions and tend to suffer from delayed language development. Their learning rate is slow and they tend to lack the correct social skills to mix and mingle with others. 

Some myths and facts about persons with intellectual disability

Intellectually disabled people are mentally ill.The intellectually disabled do not develop normally and have limited thinking abilities as a result. They cannot be treated (unlike the mentally ill) but can be trained to live fulfilling and independent lives.
Mental disability is contagious.Mental disability is NOT infectious whether you are an infant, a child or an adult.
The intellectually disabled are a burden on society.The intellectually disabled can learn to do household chores or clean himself. Many of them earn a proper living in society.
The intellectually disabled do not belong to our community.The intellectually disabled can take part in all activities but only if people allow them to do so. They sing, dance and jump when given a chance to do so!
The intellectually disabled cannot work.Some learn vocational skills and are part of the work force. They are involved in cleaning services, carwashes, assembly line work etc.
The intellectually disabled don't have feelings.Intellectually disabled people have emotional needs for love, happiness and pride just like other people. They can feel hurt when people make fun of them. So do your part to make them feel at home!