Friday, January 8, 2016

What You Should Know About Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities

By Jerry Murphy

Developmental or Intellectual disability was until recently known as mental retardation but this term is slowly becoming obsolete. It is a condition that is characterized by maladaptive behaviors and cognitive impairment. Affected persons have difficulties in learning new tasks and tend to fall short of the expectations of their social environment. There are a number of things relating to individuals with intellectual disabilities in Portsmouth, VA that we need to know so that we can help them better.

A majority of the cases of developmental abnormalities have no known cause. Existing theories implicate genetic, social and environmental influence. The good news is that most of them are classified as mild. This category includes persons that have an IQ of between 50 and 70. Children in this category typically show deficiencies in cognitive skill development and social behaviors in the classroom setting but cope quite well outside the classroom.

Children considered to have intellectual disability should not be mixed with typically functioning peers. There is a cognitive gap between the two groups and the child who has disability would always have to play catch-up if they were to be taught together. Due to the limitations that exist among these children, teachers need to adopt methods that will help affected students get life skills at the very least. The emphasis should be on self-care and hygiene, vocational training, money concepts, time concepts, and leisure activities among others.

Persons who have special needs have to be accommodated to make it possible for them to enjoy similar employment opportunities as everyone else. The degree of accommodation required varies depending on the extent of disability. Some of the accommodations that may be required include providing assistants to help with reading and interpretation of materials, direct demonstration of job techniques, replacing written tests with oral interviews and so on.

As they grow into adults, persons with intellectual disability lead independent lives in most cases. Unfortunately, however, many of them remain unemployed or are underemployed in spite of their willingness to take up jobs. There have been sustained efforts by concerned agencies and advocacy groups to make it easier for these people to get fair treatment in the workplace and to increase the opportunities available to them.

In the event that they make a decision to hire any such persons, employers should hold all their medical information in confidence. A few exceptions exist however. For instance, the information may have to be divulged in case of an emergency that requires treatment. It may also be given to insurance companies if claims are to be made.

Asking questions related during interviews is discriminatory. However, employers can ask about the qualifications that the candidate has. The employee can disclose the information voluntarily if they believe that it will be helpful in the process. The employee has to explain how they intend to carry out their duties with or without accommodation. The employer and the employee should work together to determine the kind of accommodation that will needed.

Employers should be proactive in preventing harassment. This can be done by having written policies in the workplace, preparing employee handbooks, having regular staff meetings to address the issue and periodic training. It should be made clear that harassment cases are to be reported to the manager. Corrective action should be taken promptly when reports are received.

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