Intellectual Disability (ID)

Intellectual Disability (ID), formerly known as mental retardation (MR), is a condition that is diagnosed when a child younger than 18 years has significant limitations in their intellectual functioning and daily living skills that include communication skills, social skills, and self-care skills. These limitations often cause a child to learn and develop in ways that differ from children without ID.

Children with intellectual limitations are able to learn and usually care for themselves with varying levels of impairment ranging from mild to profound. The level of impairment depends on the child’s intelligence quotient (IQ). An average IQ score is 100 and children with ID have an IQ score of 70 or lower. Children with ID often have trouble adapting to ordinary daily living situations and lack the skills to manage these situations with the same success as their age mates. There may be problems with the concepts of time, language, and numbers. Or there may be problems with interpersonal relationship skills and issues dealing with responsibility, self-esteem, problem solving, and the ability to follow rules. Individuals with ID commonly struggle with practical skills in the areas of personal care, work skills, healthcare, schedules and routines, safety, and money management. However, with appropriate assessment and intervention, many children with ID are able to learn a great deal about these common problem issues and learn to function at least on a partially independent level.

Additional emotional and behavioral disorders often occur with ID and may further interfere with a child’s functioning. Some children with ID recognize that they are performing at lower levels than their peers, which can have a negative impact on their self-esteem. Their deficits can cause them to become frustrated, withdrawn or anxious. Because children with ID often have social skills deficits, they may have difficulty making and keeping friends, and interacting appropriately with others. As these children age into adolescence and young adulthood this lack of social connection can lead to problems with depression.

In order to help children with ID, a thorough assessment of intellectual functioning as well as developmental delays needs to be completed. At Silber Psychological Services, we provide this kind of assessment through test administration, observations of your child, and interviews with parents and teachers to determine whether your child has an ID and the level of severity. Following this assessment, the psychologists at Silber Psychological Services will develop a detailed treatment plan to address issues commonly associated with ID, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. We also offer social skills groups to help teach children with mild ID appropriate social skills. Our psychologists are equipped to work with parents teaching them strategies to deal with the unique behaviors and needs of their child at home. Consultation with the child’s school is often necessary in helping teachers develop an appropriate and successful learning plan that meets your child’s needs.