What Is Intellectual Difficulty In Special Education?

12th November 2021

Did you know what makes the award-winning movie “Forrest Gump” interesting?

Stupid is as stupid does.” That was the main character’s famous answer when somebody asked him, “Are you stupid?

Though Forrest (main character) is a fictional character but in reality, the character is being considered suffering from intellectual disability. Intellectual disability (ID) is also known as ‘general learning disability’ and previously ‘mental retardation (MR)’.

Levels of intellectual disability differ significantly in children. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), ID is - “Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”

The United Nations Development Program estimates that 80% of all people with disabilities live in low-income countries.

It is necessary to remember an intellectual disability is not a disease. Furthermore, there is no cure for intellectual disabilities. Nevertheless, most kids with an ID can learn to do several things as it just takes them more time and effort than other kids.

Various Signs of Intellectual Difficulty

Forrest said in “Forrest Gump” - “Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them.

Intellectual Difficulty

Experiences related to Intellectual Difficulty

Here are the important indications of Intellectual Difficulty ---

  1. Trouble in thinking logically.
  2. Problems in sitting up, crawling, or walking later than other children.
  3. Learn to talk later, or have difficulty speaking.
  4. Kids with ID find it hard to remember things.
  5. Trouble in understanding social rules.
  6. Trouble in solving problems.
  7. Struggle with self-help and self-care skills.
  8. Trouble in growing intellectually.
  9. Continued infant childlike behaviour.
  10. Behavioral issues.
  11. Limited vocabulary.
  12. Failure to adapt or adjust to new situations.

A kid with an intellectual disability can do really well in school with individualized assistance from the special needs education program and related services.

According to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, an individual has an intellectual disability if he or she meets three standards:

  • IQ is below 70-75.
  • There are important limitations in two or more adaptive areas that are required to live, work, and play in the community, such as communication or self-care.
  • The condition manifests itself before the age of 18.

What Causes Intellectual Disability?

Even though doctors have found several causes of Intellectual Disability but here are the most common ones:

  • Genetic Conditions - Sometimes, ID is being caused by nonstandard genes inherited from parents, faults when genes combine, or other details. A few examples of genetic conditions are Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and phenylketonuria (PKU).
  • Problems at Birth - Sometimes, ID is also being caused by birth problems, like if a baby has problems during labor and birth, such as not getting enough oxygen, he or she may have an intellectual disability.
  • Pregnancy Problems - When the baby does not develop inside the mother appropriately, he or she may have intellectual disability. Such as, there may be a problem with the way the baby's cells divide as it nurtures.
  • Contact - with certain kinds of disease or toxins. Diseases like whooping cough, measles, or meningitis can root for intellectual disability if medical care is overdue or insufficient.
  • Iodine deficiency - is affecting roughly 2 billion people worldwide. It is the leading escapable cause of intellectual disability in areas of the developing world where iodine deficiency is prevalent.
  • Malnutrition - is yet another common cause of reduced intelligence.
  • Absence of the arcuate fasciculus.

Usually, other causes of intellectual disability do not happen until a child is older. These might include severe head injury, infections or stroke.

The Bottom Line

If a baby is born with an intellectual disability, it is necessary to know that there’s a lot of help available—and immediately. Moreover, special education courses for teachers programs are also preparing teaching professionals to help children with ID.

Let’s work together with the student's parents as well as other school personnel to create and implement an individualized educational plan to meet the student's requirements.

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Written By: Aditi Ghose      

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