Intellectual disability occurs in the developmental period of life (before the age of 18). Most people with an intellectual disability are born with the disability.
Possible Symptoms of an Intellectual Disability
Intellectual disabilities can affect a child in the following ways:
- They may take longer to learn things
- They may have difficulty reading and writing
- They may have trouble communicating
- They may have difficulty understanding language and general conversation
- They may have difficulty maintaining eye contact
- They may demonstrate difficulties in planning and problem solving
- They may experience extreme difficulties in understanding abstract concepts
- They may have trouble adapting to new or unfamiliar situations.
- They may present well, but actually have difficulty understanding real-life concepts
- They are likely to have difficulties with attention
- They may have difficulties learning the range of skills that will be needed to live and work in the community
- They may have trouble seeing how things or how events relate to each other
Diagnosing an Intellectual Disability
When assessing for Intellectual Disability, a Psychologist will use:
- an Intelligence Test such as The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Fifth Edition (WISC-V)
- an Achievement Test such as Wechsler Individual Achievement Test 3rd edition, and
- an Adaptive Functioning Measure such as The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System 3rd Edition (ABASS)
For a confirmed diagnosis of Intellectual Disability, the child will score 70 or under on the WISC-V. The child will also show significant difficulties in at least two areas of adaptive behaviour.
Adaptive behaviour is the collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that are learned and performed by people in their everyday lives, such as:
- Conceptual skills: money, time, and number concepts; and self-direction.
- Social skills: such as the ability to follow rules/obey laws and to avoid being victimized.
- Practical skills: activities of daily living (personal care), occupational skills, healthcare, travel/transportation, schedules/routines, safety, use of money, use of the telephone.
What to do after diagnosis
Following a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability, a child will need certain types of structure and support. For instance, within the school system they will need an individualized learning plan, as they will need to work at a different pace to their peers. There should also be an emphasis on learning living skills such as shopping, cooking, life skills, and mathematics (such as using money, calculators, and timetables). Furthermore, the child should get assistance to develop life skills literacy, such as reading road signs and shopping labels.
Book Your Assessment
If you believe that your child has significant intellectual difficulties and may have an Intellectual Disability, a psycho-educational assessment can help you understand your child’s ability and provide recommendations to assist them to fulfil their intellectual potential.
The Psycho-Educational Assessment takes approximately two hours. Approximately 10 business days after the assessment, you’ll receive a comprehensive Assessment Report that provides recommendations and feedback to the parents and students.