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Chapter 1

Chapter One- Understanding Intellectual Disabilities.doc

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PSYC 3850
Linda Hunter

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 6 century, various types and degrees of care were provided for those with ID’s but they were often referred to as “idiots” -in the 12 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 20 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 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 Contributions of Education -the role of education in IDs is primarily one of providing effective research-based instruction -the contributions of education in aiding the understanding of IDs has been to: identify needs stimulate research and theory coordinate and deliver instruction and related services -Alfred Binet invented intelligence test which was one of educations first contributions to IDs -the differential diagnosis, individualization of instruction, task analysis, and contingency management techniques were enhanced by educators and their interest in providing better services for students with IDs Disciplinary Collaboration -improvement in services is due to 2 factors: experience has shown that people with IDs being served are the ultimate beneficiaries of improved cooperation the realization that something can actually be done to promote interdisciplinary collaboration -cooperation is also key in state series and political arenas, agencies often compete for limited funds to operation their programs -inclusion: having children with disabilities in the general classroom, this collaborates the efforts of teachers and special education teachers as well as psychologists in some cases Intellectual Disabilities as a Concept -part of the difficulty with defining IDs relates to the notion of permanence and measurement of intelligence -social competence has also been an important element of most recent definitions of IDs -education and training is difficult in the absence of a concept of IDs that is logical, theoretically sound and yet functional infield settings -the overall progress of service delivery is impeded by the lack of an effective general concept of IDs Intellectual Disabilities: A Definition in Transition -AAMR definition (American Association on Mental Retardation): mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before the age of 18. -this definition and the expansion based on the assumptions it has, suggests the functioning of a person with IDs within home, school and community environments -the measurement of adaptive behaviour has always been a challenge, not achieving the desired precision despite significant and continuing research efforts -identification happens early for those with severe IDs (at birth or shortly after), this identification usually happens because of a physical or behavioural anomaly Incidence and Prevalence -incidence: number of new cases identified during a given time period (often 1 year) -prevalence: all cases existing at a given time, including both newly identified cases and cases still labelled as having IDs from some earlier diagnosis -prevalence of IDs in the US have ranged from 1-3% of the general population -11% of children with disabilities (ages 6-21) in US public schools have IDs -6.2-7.5 million people in the US had intellectual disabilities, the majority of which have only a mild disability -the AAMR definition does not employ a classification based on IQ score, but on mild, moderate or severe/profound levels of intensities of supports needed -four intensity levels of support 1. Intermittent: the supports of provided when needed, periodic and for short durations 2. Limited: supports are provided more consistently (not intermittently) 3. Extensive: regular assistance, perhaps daily is provided in some environments, but is not time limited (ie. Long term support) 4. Pervasive: high intensity supports, constant and needed across environments and may be life sustaining in nature -the incidence of IDs is highe
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