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What is Intellectual Disability, 10 Tips to Care a Child with Intellectual Disability

What is Intellectual Disability / Mental Retardation,Find a Complete Guide of 10 Tips to Care for Mentally Retarded Kids

If a child is having Intellectual Disability, he or she will not be able to learn as quickly as the normal children, Intellectual Disability is also called Mental Retardation, but mental retardation has been a sensitive word for parents, as it can hurt their feelings, so now Intellectual Disability is the most appropriate word. And Now mental retardation is no longer used.

What happens in Intellectual Disability?

Due to improper brain functioning children, will Intellectual Disability learn very slowly than the other children, a 12 years old child will be acting like a 3 years’ child, that child will not be able to dress up properly, sometimes even not able to drink water or eat food, that cause disability in many manners, some children with Intellectual Disability have talking problems, they want to say something but it takes some time for them to say.

Most of the times these children are unable to continue their studies, as they have very low learning capabilities, these children are mostly socially ignored and criticized, which gives a very bad impression on the personality of these children.

If a child is having Intellectual Disability, it doesn’t mean that he or she will not be able to learn or continue life, we have seen thousands of children in which were treated accurately and started learning quickly, in this guide I’ll share 10 tips to care a Child with Intellectual Disability and enhance the learning capabilities of Intellectual Disable kids.

Risk factor related to Causes of Intellectual Disability:

Before we discuss the care of these kids, we need to know about the causes and risk factor that can lead to Intellectual Disability.
  • Chromosomal / Genetic abnormalities
  • Infections (Bacterial, viral infections)
  • Environmental
  • Metabolic (hyperbilirubinemia, jaundice)
  • Nutritional Deficiency: Iodine deficiency lead to hypothyroidism
  • Toxic Drugs: Barbiturates, alcohol
  • Unexplained causes

1. Chromosomal / Genetic abnormalities

Genetic or chromosomal Abnormalities can lead to Intellectual Disability in most cases, these include down syndrome, autism.

2. Infections:

Infections viral or bacterial present at birth or after birth can cause the intellectual disability in many cases. Cytomegalovirus can cause Intellectual Disability. Cerebral palsy can also lead to illness.

3. Environmental

Environment is a factor that can cause this disorders, as many unwanted children in child hood are ignored by mother and father that can be a contributory factor in this illness.

4. Metabolic

Metabolic disorders (such as hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice that have very high bilirubin levels in babies) can cause this illness,

5. Nutritional Deficiency

Malnutrition can cause this illness as in the case of iodine deficiency can lead to Hypothyroidism, on the other hand minor nutritional deficiency like protein imbalance can also lead to Intellectual Disability.

6. Toxic Drugs

Some mother use alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine amphetamines, and other drugs that have great impact on the fetus, these drugs act as teratogen, the effects are long lasting on the remaining life of the child.

7. Trauma

 During birth, some head injuries can be sustained, which can lead to this illness, furthermore sometimes the injuries beyond this after birth can be sustained.

8. Unexplained:

Some unexplained reasons in medical term idiopathic those with we don’t know the cause yet these occur, it is very rare but can lead to the illness.

Symptoms of Intellectual Disability

Now as you have already known the causes of this illness, now you need to be sure if your kid is having Intellectual Disability or not these are the symptoms which will help you understand if your child is having Intellectual Disability.
  • Lack or Slow Development (Motor Skills)
  • Failure to grow intellectually
  • Lack of desire to know or learn something
  • Problems keeping up in school
  • Failure to adjust new situations
  • Difficulty in social activities

1. Lack or Slow Development

The kids with Intellectual Disability have lack or slow development in motor skills, unable to dress up properly, unable to talk, unable to handle daily routine tasks as other usual kids can do.

2. Failure to grow intellectually

These kids are unable to grow intellectually, the remained in their childhood, even a 15 years’ child will be looking like a 5-year kid, they don’t respond to growing nature of the brain.

3. Lack of desire to know or learn something

These children have lack of desire to know or learn something, they don’t take interest in usually activities like the other people do.

4. Problems keeping up in school

Children with Intellectual Disability are unable to participate in the daily school activities, they are unable to write or read properly, or sometimes, they even don’t respond to their own name.

5. Failure to adjust new situations

These kids have a problem with Failure to adjust new situations, they are unable to handle if some new situation comes, for example if someone fights with the child they are unable to defend themselves.

6. Difficulty in social activities

These kids have Difficulty in social activities, they don’t play as the normal kids do, they don’t want to talk to someone, they are in their own world. They take no interest in games, playing, or other hobbies.
These symptoms can be from mild to moderate to severe depending upon the severity of the condition.

Exams and Tests for Intellectual Disability assessment:

If you see your kid with these symptoms, consider a consultation with a doctor for more Exams and Tests to determine if your child is having the Intellectual Disability.
These development Test are used to determine the child
  • Denver developmental screening test (DDST)
  • Intelligence quotient (IQ) score
  • Developmental Adaptive Behavior score (DABS)
  • Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS)
  • Infant Monitoring System
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test

1. Denver developmental screening test (DDST)

This test is used to examining children 0-6 years for their development progress, this test was created in University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. This test is mostly used for assessment of your children development.

2. Intelligence quotient (IQ) score

IQ below 70 is considered dangerous for the children, normal children should have IQ between 70-100.

3. Developmental Adaptive Behavior score (DABS)

It is characterized by examining the conceptual, social, and practical skills of children of 4 to 21 years of age. It gives a proper assessment to examiner of the developmental condition of kid.

4. Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS)

NBAS is also used to assess the child, it was described by T. Berry Brazleton (Harvard pediatrician) and known as the Brazleton test.

5. Infant Monitoring System

This test is used for children of 4-36 months’ age,

6. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test

This test is also being used in many mental health care centers, and used for 2-4 years of age.

10 Tips to Care a Child with Intellectual Disability

Now if your child is diagnosed with Intellectual Disability, there are some tips to take special care of this child, these tips will help him / her able to learn and develop physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
But the child with Intellectual Disability need more care, guidance, love and more time to develop a good personality of these Children. We have seen too many children with Intellectual Disability enjoying proper happier, physical, mentally strong life.
Here is the list to Care Intellectual Disability child
  1. Good pre-school & School care 
  2. Use easy language that child understand well 
  3. Extra time for learning new skills
  4. Opportunities to practice new skills  
  5. Step-by-step fashion guided task
  6. Guide for making routines activities
  7. Help him / her do Simple tasks by himself
  8. Learning by doing techniques
  9. Clear with expectations
  10. Join Intellectual Disability Support Groups

Tip 1: Good pre-school & School care

Good preschool and school care can bring more results with learning capabilities, but it depends upon the degree of the Intellectual Disability, a good preschool and school care can help to learn things quickly, give extra time, extra care, these children need extra attention is routine tasks and school tasks, ask the teachers to take a note on the condition of child, give more time, help him learn the things, give love so that they take interest in learning. In preschool age these children need more attention and love of brother’s sisters and parents.

Tip 2: Use easy language that child understand well

Always use the language that Intellectual Disability child can understand easily, don’t use difficult words or names, make him familiar with surrounding and new words, eventually he will start learning new things and will understand new words and can use them.

Tip 3: Extra time for learning new skills

Give extra time to learn new skills, for example if Intellectual Disability child is interested in drawing, then help him learning this skill and help him with the stuff he demands.

Tip 4: Opportunities to practice new skills

Give opportunity to practice these newly learns skill, regular check on how is he learning these skills, appreciation of the work he’s doing, it will help learn and develop new skills quickly.

Tip 5: Step-by-step fashion guided task

Don’t rush too many tasks in one time, these children are slow in learning, provide a step-by-step fashion guide for each task, so that they can develop learning on specific task.

Tip 6: Guide for making routines activities

Guide the child for making routines and activities, help him to do home based activities, how to dress, when to dress, how to eat, when to eat. This will help him to work on regular routine.

Tip 7: Help him / her do Simple tasks

If you give some task to that child make sure the task is not Difficult, try it making as easy as you can.

Tip 8: Learning by doing techniques

Learning by doing is a great technique to help such children, as they will see things, touch them and hear them will help to learn quickly.

Tip 9: Clear with expectations

These children should be clear with expectation, what they can expect of parent, a teacher, so that they will be learning in limits and it will help them learning more skills.

Tip 10: Join Intellectual Disability Support Groups

There are Too many Intellectual Disability Support Groups which offer free services to these children, these are school based, community based or even home based, which help them in an appropriate enjoyment to develop new skills and take interests in activities.

Treatment options for a child with Intellectual Disability

The Goal of treatment of child with intellectual disability is to develop skills to learn quickly and minimize the risks of Intellectual Disability, these should be started as soon as possible in infancy to develop some learning, motor and social skills to be able to function as normal and to do his own chores himself.
Evaluate the developmental and mental status of child
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy 
  • Medications Therapy 
  • Genetic manipulations

1. Occupational therapy

These therapies help the child to do Meaningful and purposeful activities, that involve fully mental activities, playing games, social activities, self-care activities.

2. Speech Therapy

The children with intellectual disability usually have speech problems, they need speech therapy to continue life, speech therapy will improve communication skills, Improves vocabulary and speech articulation.

3. Physical therapy

Physical therapy will help in motor skills of the children with intellectual disability, locomotion, home based tasks etc. will included in physical therapy.

4. Medications Therapy

Medical therapy is usually done for treating the cause, for example if a child is born with hypothyroidism, then the main aim for treatment is to treat hypothyroidism it will help the child prevent the condition as well as treat the intellectual disability.

5. Genetic manipulations

Genetic manipulations are techniques which prevent the children birth with some syndrome, for example if parents are prone to have a child with down syndrome, these genetic manipulation help prevent the down syndrome, also the screening is necessary to prevent the outcome.

Prognosis (Result of treatment)

Outcome of treatment for Intellectual Disability depends on following
  • Severity & Cause
  • Successful treatment
  • Care taken by parents

Prevention of Intellectual Disability

It is stated that prevention is better that cure, so it is wise to prevent the factors that causes Intellectual Disability.
  • Genetic counseling
  • Nutritional Program
  • Toxicity prevention
  • Infections Control
  • Drug control
  • Birth Injuries prevention
Prevention of Intellectual Disability is possible by

1. Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling is a great technique to prevent marriages that are high risk for down syndrome or other related syndromes, screening can also help preventing these diseases.

2. Nutritional Program

Most of the population is world lives in poverty, which lead to malnutrition NOT only for the mother for child also, child born with hypothyroidism, have Intellectual Disability, so if we take part in nutritional program and good diet for mother during pregnancy can prevent Intellectual Disability.

3. Infection Control

We already discussed the reason why infection diseases can cause Intellectual Disability, so if you take good ante-natal care and post-natal care then these pregnancies and after birth infections can be prevented which eventually prevent the Intellectual Disability.

4. Toxicity prevention

Toxic substances like lead, mercury can cause these symptoms so these toxic substances should be removed from surrounding, for example pregnant women often work in factories which are heavy loaded with these toxic substances, should be removed.

5. Drug control

Some pregnant mother use drugs like cocaine, alcohol should be controlled and prevented throughout the pregnancy.

6. Birth Injuries prevention

Birth injuries and trauma should be prevented to prevent Intellectual Disability.


Intellectual Disability is not a disease but a condition, which can be prevented cured and corrected by special care and management.
If you have any questions, suggestion, comment below.


  1. what is difference between Intellectual Disability & Mental retardation?
    1. Mental retardation is the alternative name for Intellectual Disability, but now it is no longer used as it can hurt people feelings.

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