Despite whatever negative image of a child with an intellectual disability many hold in their minds, it is entirely possible for a child with a mild case to live a fulfilling and independent life. A lot of the coping techniques focus on staying positive and taking things slowly as ‘difficulty learning’ does not mean ‘unable to learn’. Some autism is considered a form of mental retardation and yet there are savants. Even individuals with regular autism, cerebral palsy or down’s syndrome can live relatively normal lives when given the right tools to manage everyday life tasks.
Causes for intellectual disabilities can occur at any time in a pregnancy or early infanthood. Some disorders are genetic, some spring from unfortunate abnormalities during development in the womb or a drinking pregnant mother, others from complications at birth cutting off oxygen to the brain for a moment, or diseases in babies like measles as well as accidental physical trauma. Even a healthy child living in poor conditions may develop intellectual deficiencies due to malnutrition simply under-stimulation from neglect.
Sophie Christiansen is a British equestrian born with cerebral palsy who has won gold and silver medals in 3 Paralympics.
The severity of the disability varies according to the severity of the inciting incident most often. in milder cases, the disorder may not even be apparent until early grade school when cognitive disabilities become obvious as peers learn faster. Memory troubles and a shortness in attention span become prominent at this age, as do issues in adaptive behavior as children with an intellectual disability may have trouble dressing themselves, interacting with peers and displaying appropriate behavior in public (Heward 2010). These symptoms are all heightened in cases of severe intellectual disabilities but a severely impaired child may also live a happy and secure life in a home, or elsewhere supported by caregivers.
Heward, W. L. "Characteristics of Children with Mental Retardation (page 2)."Characteristics of Children with Mental Retardation Page 2. Education.com, 20 July 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Leibert, Peter. "What Causes Mental Retardation." The Prevention News, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.