26 November, 2012


Join the Dad Show with host Kenneth D. Thompson discussing a "Single Father Raising Children with Intellectual Disabilities" The DadShow airs on Tuesday November 27th at 6:00pm Tune-in to KAZI 88.7fm or listen to the program courtesy of a live stream at or Call-in numbers are 512.451.5624 or 1.866.451.5624.

 Guest: Genold Jones - a single father, discussing raising a child with intellectual disabilities. Intellectual disability is a term used when a person has certain limitations in mental functioning and in skills such as communicating, taking care of him or herself, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child. Children with intellectual disabilities (sometimes called cognitive disabilities or mental retardation) may take longer to learn to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating. They are likely to have trouble learning in school. They will learn, but it will take them longer. There may be some things they cannot learn.

 How are Intellectual Disabilities Diagnosed? Intellectual disabilities are diagnosed by looking at two main things. These are:

 ■the ability of a person’s brain to learn, think, solve problems, and make sense of the world (called IQ or intellectual functioning); and

■whether the person has the skills he or she needs to live independently (called adaptive behavior, or adaptive functioning).

 Intellectual functioning, or IQ, is usually measured by a test called an IQ test. The average score is 100. People scoring below 70 to 75 are thought to have an intellectual disability. To measure adaptive behavior, professionals look at what a child can do in comparison to other children of his or her age. Certain skills are important to adaptive behavior.

These are:

 ■daily living skills, such as getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and feeding one’s self;

 ■communication skills, such as understanding what is said and being able to answer;

 ■social skills with peers, family members, adults, and others. To diagnose an intellectual disability, professionals look at the person’s mental abilities (IQ) and his or her adaptive skills.

Both of these are highlighted in the definition of this disability within our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is the federal law that guides how early intervention and special education services are provided to infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disbilities. In IDEA, ”intellectual disability” is defined as follows:


 Definition of “Intellectual Disability” under IDEA Until Rosa’s Law was signed into law by President Obama in October 2010, IDEA used the term “mental retardation” instead of “intellectual disability.” Rosa’s Law changed the term to be used in future to “intellectual disability.” The definition itself, however, did not change. Accordingly, “intellectual disability” is defined as… “…significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.” [34 CFR §300.8(c)(6)]


 Providing services to help individuals with intellectual disabilities has led to a new understanding of how we define the term. After the initial diagnosis is made, we look at a person’s strengths and weaknesses. We also look at how much support or help the person needs to get along at home, in school, and in the community. This approach gives a realistic picture of each individual. It also recognizes that the “picture” can change. As the person grows and learns, his or her ability to get along in the world grows as well.

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