Intellectual disability and the scale of its severity

that intellectual disability is divided into four subcategories? In this article, we will tell you about the disability codes that are used

Intellectual disability and the scale of its severity
Intellectual disability and the scale of its severity

Did you know that intellectual disability is divided into four subcategories? In this article, we will tell you about the disability codes that are used in medicine and discuss their main characteristics.

Knowing the severity scale allows you to better understand how intellectual disability is assessed by specialists and classified into one of the four identified severity codes.

What is intellectual disability?

Intellectual disability is a neurodevelopmental disorder, that is, a disorder diagnosed in childhood. It is characterized by deterioration of cognitive functions and difficulties in conceptual, social and practical adaptation.

In order to be diagnosed with intellectual disability, the following three characteristics must be present:

  • Cognitive Impairment: Difficulty solving problems, planning, reasoning, etc. In addition, it is not uncommon for a child to have difficulties at school, planning homework, and even playing and interacting with others.
  • Conceptual, social and practical adaptation difficulties: The child has difficulties with personal autonomy, social responsibility, social communication, etc. Hence, intellectual disability is detected when the child is forced to communicate with other people, regardless of age.
  • Visibility of disorders during development: All these symptoms must present themselves during childhood.

After noticing intellectual disability, its degree should be determined. For this purpose, specialists use the scale of the severity of intellectual disability, in which they take into account not only the level of cognitive abilities of a given person, but also their ability to adapt.

Codes of intellectual disability and severity

When considering the change in cognitive abilities, the assessment is complemented by a qualitative analysis of the person's adaptability.

Thus, the scale consists of three areas related to social adaptation:

  • Conceptual domain: understanding and using abstract thinking. For example, understanding symbolic language and understanding and using time and money.
  • Social domain: Refers to a person's socialization skills. In other words, with whom and what he does, how he does it and what social tools he uses to express himself.
  • Practical domain: characterized by, inter alia, personal care, hygiene and professional development skills.

 Identifying levels of severity of disability

Mild intellectual disability

In many cases, this type of intellectual disability goes unnoticed. Many of these people achieve independence and are able to adapt to normal life. In this way, they can compensate for their cognitive fluidity through physical labor or simply by spending more time on the task at hand.

Often times, their difficulties are confused with lack of interest, distraction, bad mood, lack of motivation, etc. Moreover, they usually need more time to learn. In addition, they have difficulties with planning, abstract reasoning, defining strategies and priorities.

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They can learn language and arithmetic, but have difficulty when the issues become more complex.

Moreover, people with mild intellectual disabilities can communicate in an acceptable way in their social environment. However, most of these disabilities become apparent when children play together.

In short, a person with a mild disability is able to develop conceptual, social and practical skills, but at a more limited level than a person without a disability.

Moderate intellectual disability

Unlike the previous one, this diagnosis is more restrained. Weaker conceptual, social and practical skills are more prominent. Moreover, a person with this disability is not fully independent.

Their learning ability is more limited. The limited development of conceptual skills makes it difficult to work with abstract concepts. So, when these people have to work with realities that are not tangible or have no hypotheses, they feel lost.

Moreover, their limitations in social environments are visible.

For moderate intellectual disability, practical skills depend more on external support. In addition, it takes more time to master activities such as personal care, hygiene and household activities.

Intellectual disability to a significant degree

People diagnosed with significant intellectual disability have very limited conceptual learning opportunities. Therefore, they are not expected to have a complex symbolic understanding, rather a more material understanding is present.

The main tools of social development for these people are, in addition to gestures, simple expressions. Moreover, their social circle includes only the family.

Thus, a person with a severe intellectual disability is highly dependent.

Deep intellectual disability

A person diagnosed with severe intellectual disability is completely dependent. He only socializes through facial expressions, especially when he wants or rejects something he sees. In many cases, it is able to follow simple instructions and procedures, but in a highly automated manner.

What to do if you suspect an intellectual disability

Now that you know the four subtypes of intellectual disability, you can be a good researcher in the early stages. Therefore, if you notice any of the above symptoms, it is better to consult a specialist as soon as possible.

Remember the information above, but stay calm in the light of suspicions, as stress or anxiety can also affect your cognition. Low academic performance or a lack of social interest are not always caused by intellectual disability.