PSYC 3850 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: American Psychiatric Association, Intellectual Disability, Strange Behaviour

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Understanding Intellectual Disabilities – Chapter 1
- Some developmental differences may be so subtle at one point
oDon’t attract attention
oBecome more evident at another developmental time
- What is considered developmental limitation by one profession at one point may not be
by another
- Perceptions of what is normal vary widely over time and b/w disciplines
Historical Perspectives
- Diverse concepts and varying characteristics have influenced different descriptions of
people w/ intellectual disabilities, depending on society’s views and situational
influences during any given time period
- The fluidity of the concept is due to a variety of reasons
oEconomic, social, and political climate influences of various cultures throughout
history
- Before 1800
oHaving an intellectual disability not considered urgent social problem
Those w/ severed intellectual disabilities either killed or died of natural
causes at an early age
oDrain on society and target for elimination (till recent mid-1900s)
oThose w/ mild intellectual disabilities could function well in agrarian society
Earliest reference 1552 BC; some evidence pre-dating this time
oSevere head injuries common, resulting in abnormal behaviour
oBrain surgeries had been performed w/ intention to cure abnormal behaviour
On assumption that evil spirits cause strange behaviour
Opening a hole in the skill permitted them to escape
Resulted in diminished intellectual ability
- SES conditions influenced understanding and treatment
oMental and physical = disgrace b/c of stigma
oEconomic drain
- Political authority – force in determining the lot of people w/ intellectual disabilities
o6th C – Pop Gregory I instructed the faithful to help crippled
oReferred to as idiots
o12th C – King Henry II – natural fools
Distinguished b/w those w/ intellectual disabilities and those w/ mental
illness
- Reproductive sterilization
- Study by Henry Goddard – Revolutionary War soldier Martin Kallikak
oFathered a child w/ a barmaid and later w/ a “normal” person
oOne doomed for life as a degenerate; other destined to be successful
oFostered sterilization movement
For fear of intellectual disabilities
- People w/ intellectual disabilities in institutions were viewed as permanent residents
oNot trained for return to society
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oSolution for preventing a problem citizen
Disciplines and Professions
Disciplines Perspectives and Contributions
- Multiple professions involved in the field of intellectual disabilities
Terminology
- Term perceived thru Western lenses, in which constancy, regularity, and predictability
are assumed
- Moved to fluid conceptualization
oBiomedical causes as well as environmental and social factors
oChange due to advances in natural and social sciences, economics, and use of
less pejorative terms
- Wide range of behaviour
- Label of fact and label of conjecture
oFact – quantifiable and verifiable
Observed characteristics determined by biomedical disagnosis
Tay-Sachs, down syndrome and anencephaly
oConjecture – concepts only hypothesized
Only 20% of intellectual disabilities caused by medical factors; 80% is
uncertain
Incidence of mild ID higher among people from low SES
- Framework used to describe ID affects society’s perception of nature and extent of the
challenge
- Orientation of discipline affects view of people w/ ID
Contributions of Biological and Medical Sciences
- Physician – first medical profession to identify diagnosis
oView from physiological perspective limited
oLimit effectiveness of counseling
- Medical research – locates causal factor
- Advances in genetics allow professionals to prevent many forms of intellectual
disabilities
oPositive and negative outcomes
- Some ID preventable before conception
oCarriers of defective genes
- Psychiatry – American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMID, now AAMR)
oLimited view of the spectrum of IDs
Contributions of the Behavioural Sciences
- Each field has operated independently, w/I confines of own terms
- Psychology – most involved
oThree important areas it had contributed
Intelligence theory and testing
Learning theory research
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Document Summary

Some developmental differences may be so subtle at one point: don"t attract attention, become more evident at another developmental time. What is considered developmental limitation by one profession at one point may not be. Perceptions of what is normal vary widely over time and b/w disciplines by another. Diverse concepts and varying characteristics have influenced different descriptions of people w/ intellectual disabilities, depending on society"s views and situational influences during any given time period. The fluidity of the concept is due to a variety of reasons: economic, social, and political climate influences of various cultures throughout history. Before 1800: having an intellectual disability not considered urgent social problem. Those w/ severed intellectual disabilities either killed or died of natural causes at an early age: drain on society and target for elimination (till recent mid-1900s, those w/ mild intellectual disabilities could function well in agrarian society.

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