Intellectual disabilities

If your child has been diagnosed as having an intellectual disability, you may be looking for answers and resources. We have plenty of both here at CTS.

The effect of an intellectual disability on the lives of children and their families varies considerably – as does the range of abilities that people with intellectual disabilities are able to develop. Most children with intellectual disabilities grow up to become functional adults. They may take longer to learn many things, such as to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs, such as dressing or eating. They may take longer to learn in school. But most will be able to learn what they need to in order to live independently, work, and have friends and a satisfying life.

In very young children, mild intellectual disability may not be obvious – it’s usually identified when children begin school. At that point, it may take some work to sort out intellectual disability from learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral issues.

Moderate intellectual disability is more apparent in young children. Children with moderate Intellectual disability may take a while to learn to talk or hit other developmental milestones. They will need a lot of support, at home and elsewhere, to be able to participate in school and in the community.

A severe or profound intellectual disability may mean the person will need lifelong support and supervision. There are still many things they can learn, but they may require more support and practice.

Intellectual disability is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired intellectual and adaptive (able to perform the general skills of daily life) functioning, defined by an IQ score below 70 as well as skill delays. Other common symptoms include speech delays and impaired social functioning.

How can I help my child with an intellectual disability?

A lot of help is available for a child with an intellectual disability, and for his parents. Our speech-language pathologists will assess your child’s strengths and challenges and draw up a therapy plan that meets the needs of your child while reflecting the values and priorities of your family. We use a variety of fun strategies to help children learn. We will find what your child enjoys and include activities that are engaging as well as useful for learning.

We are part of the Illinois Early Intervention Program, a system of services designed to help infants and toddlers with disabilities (until their third birthday) and their families.