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Types of Intellectual Disabilities PDF Print E-mail

Recognised Types of Intellectual Disabilities:

1.    ADHD
2.    Angelman Syndrome
3.    Asperger Syndrome
4.    Autism
5.    Cri Du Chat
6.    Down’s Syndrome
7.    Dysphagia
8.    Dyspraxia
9.    Dyslexia
10.  Epilepsy
11.  Fragile X
12.  Klinefelter Syndrome
13.  Pervasive Developmental Disorder
14.  Prader-Willi Syndrome
15.  Rett’s Syndrome
16.  Trisomy
17.  Sotos Syndrome
18.  Tourette’s Syndrome
19.  Tuberous Sclerosis
20.  William’s Syndrome


What are the types of Intellectual Disabilities?

KSMH includes all types of intellectual disabilities in their service delivery. Among the known types of intellectual disabilities whose definitions are discussed below are:
  • Autism 
  • Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) 
  • Learning Disabilities 
  • Behaviour and Emotional Disorders
  • Communication Disorders

1. Autism

Autism is defined as a severe behaviour disorder with onset in early childhood that is characterized by extreme withdrawal and self-stimulation. It significantly affects verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, usually evident before age 3yrs, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotypes movement, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines and usual sensory experiences. It’s also a neurological disorder that leads to deficits in child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, develop social skills and relate to others.

2. Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)

The term Asperger’s Syndrome is defined as a developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulty with social interactions and difficulty in dealing with other people. The disorder of the Asperger’s Syndrome is now recognized as a relatively common intellectual disability. The impact of AS on children and their families is profound. It is also identified as a intellectual disorder and is assumed to be a mild case of autism.

3. Children with Learning Disabilities

The label learning disability refers to a category of children and does not describe the specific deficit or dysfunction of the child or the specific academic or achievement problem of the child. The label assists persons in identifying and classifying children who need special help. Their neurological patterns seem somewhat different from those of children of the same age without disabilities. Persons with learning disabilities have in common some types of failure in school or community. They are not able to do what others with the same level of intelligence are able to do. The prevalence of children with learning disabilities range from 1 – 30%. “Specific learning disability” means a disorder in one or more of basic psychological process involved in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

The definition has four criteria that teachers must consider when identifying students with learning disabilities, as discussed below:

1. Academic difficulties. The child with learning disabilities has difficulty in learning how to read, write, spell, organize thoughts or do mathematical calculations, compared with other children of the same age.

2. Discrepancy between potential and achievement. The child with learning disabilities experiences a serious discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement in school; this is known as an aptitude-achievement discrepancy.

3. Exclusion of other factors. A person may not be classified as having learning disabilities if the learning problem is caused by visual or hearing impairments, mental retardation, motor disabilities, emotional disturbance, or environmental factors.

4. Neuropsychological disorder. Basic learning disabilities are the result of some types of neuropsychological disorder.

A learning disability is also defined as one with more basic psychological processes involved in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

Learning disabilities is also defined as a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders that are manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and are presumed to be the central nervous system dysfunction. Even though a learning disability may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g. sensory impairment, mental retardation, social and emotional disturbances, insufficient/inappropriate instruction, psychogenic factors), it is not the real result of those conditions or influences.

4. Children with Behaviour and Emotional Disorders

The prevalence of behaviour disorder greatly varies from one source to the next ranging from 0.005 to 15.0%. It is not easy to define behaviour and emotional problems in children. Most definitions assume that a child with a behaviour disorder, or serious emotional disturbance, reveal consistent “age-inappropriate behaviour” leading to social conflict, personal unhappiness, and school failure.

A behaviour disorder implies that the child is causing trouble for someone else. Serious emotional disturbance can be merely manifesting personal unhappiness. But almost all children reveal age-inappropriate behaviour at one time or another. Moreover, a child‘s behaviour is not the only variable that determines classification in this category. The person who perceives the child’s behaviour as “inappropriate” plays a key role in the decision. Cleary, some kinds of behaviour, such as physical attacks, constant weeping or unhappiness, and extreme hyperactivity, are unacceptable in any setting. But the acceptability of a wide range of other behaviours depends on the attitude of the perceiver.

In our pluralistic society, behaviour that is acceptable in some groups or subcultures is unacceptable in others. Our definition, therefore, must allow for cultural differences. Can we say that a child’s behaviour is deviant if the behaviour is the norm in the child’s cultural group, even though we may find the particular behaviour socially unacceptable? Deviant behaviour is defined as a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained to be intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
  • Inappropriate types of behaviour or feelings under normal circumstances:
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.



5. Children with Communication Disorders

A communication disorder is impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts of verbal, non- verbal, and graphic symbol systems. A communication disorder may be evident in the processes of hearing, language, and/or speech. A communication disorder may range in severity from mild to profound, it may be developmental or acquired. The individuals may demonstrate one or any combination of communication disorders. A communication disorder may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities. The prevalence of speech and language disorders is estimated to be between 7 and 10 %.

  • A speech disorder is an impairment of the articulation of speech, sounds, fluency, and/or voice.
  • An articulation disorder is a typical production of speech sounds characterized by substitutions, omissions, additions or distortions that may interfere with intelligibility.
  • A fluency disorder is an interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by a typical rate, rhythm, and repetitions in sounds, syllables, words and phrases. This can be accompanied by excessive tension, struggle behaviour, and secondary mannerisms.
  • A voice disorder is characterized by the abnormal production and/or absence of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration, which is inappropriate for an individual’s age and/or sex.
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