Intellectual Disability (ID)

Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability that usually affect the children. Because of some biological reason, it may also affect even unborn baby.

What is Intellectual Disability?

The term "intellectual disability" (or ID), formerly referred to as mental retardation, is used to describe a person's specific limits in their cognitive abilities. Intellectual impairment is a condition that manifests before the age of 18 and is defined by considerable limitations in both intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, and problem-solving) and adaptive behavior (conceptual, social, and practical abilities). As a result of this definition's general adoption, there is now an international agreement that determines the degree of intellectual impairment and requires a comparison of a person's IQ and social aptitude.

A person has an intellectual disability if they satisfy three requirements, according to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities :

Etiology of Intellectual Disability (ID)

The etiology of ID explores the causal factors of the disorder, and research has listed the following common causes that often contribute to intellectual disability (ID):

Genetic Factors, exposure to Teratogens, and Birth Complications

Certain conditions, such as down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, birth abnormalities, and infections, can occur before birth and result in intellectual incapacity. Some take place immediately after or during childbirth. ID can also be caused by faulty gene combinations, inherited abnormal genes, and other factors. Examples of genetic disorders include phenylketonuria, fragile X syndrome, and down syndrome (PKU).

Intellectual impairment may arise when the baby does not grow normal in the mother’s womb. For instance, an issue with the baby's cell division might exist. A woman who consumes alcohol or has an illness like rubella while pregnant increases her risk of giving birth to a child with intellectual disabilities.

Brain Injury and Trauma

Intellectual impairment can be brought on by trauma, illness, or a neurological condition. Numerous kids have intellectual disabilities for which there is no recognized reason. Other conditions, such as severe head trauma, infections, or stroke, may cause intellectual disability in children before they reach maturity. Additionally, a newborn may have an intellectual impairment if difficulties arise during labor and delivery, such as when the infant does not receive enough oxygen.

Exposure to Toxins and Diseases

Intellectual problems can be brought on by illnesses like measles, whooping cough, or meningitis. Extreme undernutrition, improper medical treatment, or exposure to toxins like lead or mercury are other potential causes.

Since one cannot contract an intellectual disability from another person, we are aware that it is not communicable. Additionally, we are certain that it is not a mental condition like depression. The condition of intellectual impairment cannot be cured. Nevertheless, children with intellectual impairments may pick up many new skills, and they could only need to take more time or learn differently from other kids.


Teaching adaptive, self-help, and social skills and other rehabilitative techniques are the principal treatments for people with intellectual disabilities. Depending on the level of retardation, the treatment strategy and results will vary. The training of people with intellectual disabilities includes creating goals and scheduling therapeutic sessions:

  • Target areas for improvement are identified.
  • Simple components are broken up into certain basic-level skills.
  • Simple exercises and play sessions are conducted to achieve specified goals.
  • Adequate incentives and reinforcements are used.
  • The goal is to advance to goad-directed behaviors gradually.
  • Real-world circumstances are included in the effective behavioral modifications.

For people with intellectual disabilities, several specific institutions and schools may provide feeding services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and training with specialized assistive equipment. The goal of an Individualized Educational Program, or IEP, is to create adjustments, accommodations, and changes that will improve the child's learning ability and help them develop the widest range of life skills. Special education, therapeutic programs, social assistance, and vocational rehabilitation are all options for those with intellectual disabilities to access rehabilitation services.


There are several myths and prejudice associated with intellectual disability. However, a heartening finding from an Indian research study on intellectual disability (ID) shows that most parents of the chosen intellectually disabled children believed they had a more positive impact, at 67.3%. This suggests that having a disabled child in the family will not negatively impact or be a bad fate or misfortune for any family and that such belief is only a myth. With the proper guidance and care, many people with ID can support themselves, live independently, and find rewarding employment.



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