Intellectual Disability: Definition, Symptoms, & Treatment

Intellectual disability, also referred to as intellectual development disorder, is a disability which affects intelligence and skills necessary for learning, reasoning and handling different forms of daily demands. This article will discuss the meanings and signs of intellectual disability, factors that may lead to it, as well as the existing intellectual disability treatment options for such a condition.

Definition of Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is a condition where the IQ is below 70 and on two or more domains, adaptive function is impaired. The above areas include communication, personal care and occupation, social/interpersonal, self-management, health/physical well-being, numeracy, use of community services, recreation, and employment. It is most of the time possible that the occurrence of intellectual disability was before the age of 18 years.

Symptoms of Intellectual Disability

The condition of ID has numerous symptoms that can vary from mild to moderate to severe and even profound. Common symptoms include:

  • Developmental milestones such as sitting, standing, or walking may be delayed; The child may take a long time before they learn how to speak.
  • Inability to grasp ideas or concepts and work with ideas and abstractions.
  • Symptoms such as memory disturbances, difficulties in concentration and attention, and deficits in abstract thinking.
  • Problems in solving issues as well as irrational thoughts.
  • Another weakness that has been seen is the unwillingness to innovate and explore new things.
  • The main challenge in such situations is to determine the connection between the cause and the subsequent effect.
  • Difficulties in making oneself understood, as well as the inability to get one’s necessities met.

So, they experience problems in personal care and self-management or an inability to maintain independence in activities of daily living and must need child counselling.

Causes of Intellectual Disability

There are many potential causes of intellectual disability, including:

  • Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and metabolic disorders, as well as various cancers and immune deficiencies.
  • Bih difficulties leading to inadequate supply of oxygen in the head.
  • Coming across such substances as lead or mercury that are found in the environment.
  • Malnutrition
  • Concussion or head injury

Sometimes even the aetiology of the condition cannot be clearly defined, as well as, both genetic and environmental causes can influence these.

Assessments & Diagnosis

In diagnosing intellectual disability, there are assessments of the level of mental development by the affected individual as well as the ability of the affected person to cope with daily life challenges. IQ tests include measures such as spoken language application, working memory, perceptual and spatial skills, and the speed of information processing.

It has been established that adaptive behaviour can be assessed with the help of interviews, as well as scaling procedures estimating communication, social, academic, personal management, safety and other practical coping abilities. To qualify for an ASD, the difficulties in both learning and the ability to adjust must become apparent by the time the affected child is young.

The best psychologist in Gurgaon can go ahead and start participating in assessments in order to reach conclusions on the diagnoses that are most suitable for a child, depending on the symptoms as well as the results of the tests.

Treatment for Intellectual Disability

There is no known cure for intellectual disability; however, the development of such processes and approaches as early intervention and phonological awareness can be helpful in the course of such a disability. Common intellectual disability treatment options include:

  • Medications

It is possible to be given medicines which treat symptoms that are related to the disorder, such as seizures, mental illness, or sleeping disorders. Some of these drugs can also act to improve mental performance.

  • Educational Interventions

It is a teaching process in which education is delivered to the child based on their learning capabilities and requirements of that child and this special education targets developing life skills, social skills, communication and academic skills at one’s pace. I.E.P.’s call for specific goals to be developed for pupils with learning disabilities.

  • Behavioural Therapies

Methods such as applied behaviour analysis with child counselling involve building on skills that are desirable in terms of development, communication as well as adaptive living skills by positively reinforcing behaviours. It also assists with other issues that involve emotions.

  • Community Support

Services available from the government and various non-profit organisations and support groups aimed at improving function and increasing independence. Training and development of employees, the type of accommodation for older people, and the establishment of classes are examples.

  • Early Intervention

Specialists on early intervention of babies and toddlers have a noted positive effect if diagnosed and treated at an early age. The treatment plan is designed by an interdisciplinary team, fitting its requirements according to the child.


So, early intervention along with education, psychological and speech therapies, pharmacological management and social support with the help of the best psychologist in Gurgaon, India can go a long way in the management of the condition. Future research also focuses on improving the number of existing treatments in order to provide more choices for patients.

About Author

The author has years of work experience in counselling children and providing treatment to patients with an intellectual disability; she is a psychologist working in Gurgaon, India. The expert offers tender, loving care and organises appropriate therapeutic interventions for all children with developmental disabilities. Contact Dr. Dipti Yadav.

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