PSYC 3850 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Intellectual Disability, Behavioural Sciences, Differential Diagnosis

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CHAPTER ONE: UNDERSTANDING
INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
-there is a wide range for what is considered “normal”, outside of this range, differences are often extreme enough
to draw attention
Historical Perspectives
-parents and family members of those with intellectual disabilities have led, promoted, and participated in change
movements that have altered society’s view of people with disabilities
-without these efforts, many federal and state laws would not have been passed, the idea of a free and appropriate
public education would differ from what it is today, and quite possibly, society’s fundamental views of how people
should treat others would be less caring and supportive
-the concept of intellectual disabilities has been fluid and elusive for a variety of reasons, not the least of which
have been the influences of economic, social and political climates of various cultures throughout history, the
shifting viewpoints have influenced attitudes toward disabilities and had a significant impact on treatment
approaches, just as they do in today’s society
-before 1800s, having intellectual disabilities was not considered an urgent social problem in any society because
those with more severe disabilities were either killed or died of natural causes at an early age
-those with mild ID could function fairly well in an agrarian society
-socioeconomic conditions have influenced human understanding and treatment of people with intellectual
disabilities as well
-primitive tribes often looked on mental and physical differences with fear or as signs of disgrace, largely because of
the stigma associated with such conditions
-throughout history, political authority has also been a force in determining the lot of people with ID
-in the 6th century, various types and degrees of care were provided for those with ID’s but they were often referred
to as “idiots”
-in the 12th century, under the rule of King Henry II, those with ID and those with mental illness were distinguished
-reproductive sterilization has periodically been a prominent topic in the history of IDs
-this topic brings up issues of nature vs. nurture, political and economic issues and moral and social debates
-in the 20th century, repots such as Goddard’s fostered the sterilization movement due to fear of IDs. This promoted
widespread support for methods that would “control it”, among them sterilization and isolation
-institutions became custodial in order to “protect” society and to prevent reproduction
-with this shift, people with IDs in institutions were seen as permanent residents and weren’t trained for any
eventual return to society
-with advances in knowledge of heredity and expansion of education of those with IDs, a re-evaluation has been
prompted
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Disciplinary Perspectives and Contributions
-there is a need for professionals in the field of intellectual disabilities
-those with IDs will often use special ed teachers, speech and language specialists etc
-societal changes do not readily align themselves according to the convenience of individual professions
-still, the academic model of establishing a disciplinary focus has been an effective method for building a
knowledge base in particular areas
Terminology
-intellectual disabilities include a wide range of behaviours
-Intellectual disabilities is both a label of fact (quantifiable, verifiable) and of conjecture (includes concepts that are
as yet only hypothesized)
-20% of IDs are caused by biomedical factors, the other 80% is uncertain
-the influence of environment has been a major source of speculation (conjecture) because of the incidence of
milder forms of IDs is higher for people in lower socioeconomic backgrounds
Contributions of Biological and Medical Sciences
-even when the condition is readily identifiable, the cause is not always clear
-physician is usually the first professional to identify, diagnose and counsel parents of children with IDs
-physicians often see things from the medical perspective, so counselling parents may not be effective by the
physician
-recent medical research reveals that it is possible to prevent some forms of IDs by investigating clinical syndromes
-these advances in genetics allow for parents to see what defective genes they have before they conceive and the
likelihood their offspring will also be affected
Contributions to Behavioural Sciences
-psychology is the behavioural science most involved in the study of IDs
-psychology has contributed by:
intelligence theory and testing (helps provide programs for children with IDs)
learning theory research
interpersonal social aspects
-anthropological contributes consist of the adaptation of those with IDs to their environment
-this suggests there is a cultural component to IDs
-anthropology has a different approach because they look at the individual with ID in their natural setting as
opposed to an artificial lab setting
-anthropology uses qualitative research
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Document Summary

There is a wide range for what is considered normal , outside of this range, differences are often extreme enough to draw attention. Parents and family members of those with intellectual disabilities have led, promoted, and participated in change movements that have altered society"s view of people with disabilities. Before 1800s, having intellectual disabilities was not considered an urgent social problem in any society because those with more severe disabilities were either killed or died of natural causes at an early age. Those with mild id could function fairly well in an agrarian society. Socioeconomic conditions have influenced human understanding and treatment of people with intellectual disabilities as well. Primitive tribes often looked on mental and physical differences with fear or as signs of disgrace, largely because of the stigma associated with such conditions. Throughout history, political authority has also been a force in determining the lot of people with id.

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