The term ID refers to a broad range of conditions, so behaviours vary from individual to individual. There are some common behavioural traits that many people with ID exhibit. These include:
Impulse control difficulties: Children with ID often have difficulties understanding cause and effect processes. A child that does not have ID will quickly learn that touching a hot stove will burn them and will avoid doing this in future. A child with ID however may not make the connection between the burnt hand and the hot stove as easily. This can affect future impulse control.
Challenges in controlling or regulating emotions: This means that some people with ID may have difficulties controlling how they respond emotionally in certain situations. They may get over-excited, upset, or angry and may have trouble calming themselves or controlling their reaction.
Low tolerance for frustration: Because of difficulties controlling emotions, people with ID may have outbursts when they experience frustration.
Anti-social tendencies: A small proportion of people youth with ID may exhibit anti-social behaviour – from being mean to others to damaging property or engaging in delinquent behaviours (Inoue, 2019)
A lowered ability to understand and follow social rules might mean a child with ID would have problems with the concept of turn-taking while playing with other children or waiting in line at a bus-stop or in a queue.
Some people with ID may exhibit what are known as ‘challenging behaviours.’ These can include aggressive or violent behaviours that can cause injury to themselves or others, and anti-social behaviours such as stealing. These behaviours can cause a good deal of distress to parents and care-givers and can create significant challenges for service providers (Inoue, 2019).
Studies suggest between 10% and 40% may engage in challenging behaviours. Children with severe intellectual disabilities, ADHD, autism, sensory impairment or mood disorders are more likely to be affected. Additionally, the problem may be compounded by lower levels of support and access to services.
Low tolerance for frustration:
The majority of people with ID are cared for by a family member – usually a parent, but sometimes a sibling – in the home. Caregivers are more likely to be a female relative than a male relative – although this is not always the case. Depending on the intensity of the care needs, and on whether there are other health issues (also known as co-morbidities), this can sometimes be a full-time, or almost full-time, job.
- The health and well-being of their loved one
- The safety of the individual
- Social inclusion
With the right supports, there is no reason why a person with an intellectual disability cannot actively be included and participate in society.
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