Intellectual disability is diagnosed under the World Health Organisation as a person with significant cognitive impairment and adaptive behaviour, with an onset occurring in the early developmental years. Children and adults with intellectual disability experience difficulties with learning physical and non-physical skills, and integrating fully into mainstream society.
There are many causes of intellectual disability. Some of these are genetic (such as Down’s syndrome and Prader Willi Syndrome) while others are acquired in the early developmental years (such as cerebral palsy).
One of the most challenging things in working with people with intellectual disability is ensuring that they understand and have choice about the way in which they receive therapy supports, as too often this is ignored or not considered. As neurological physiotherapists with vast experience working with adults and children with a range of cognitive, psychological physical impairments, we will always try to understand others’ points of view, find creative ways to communicate and help them take charge of their own therapy wherever possible.
As part of our training as neurological physiotherapists, we understand how adult and childhood disability can affect their physical health and also how it affects the way they age. From here we can help them and their family identify and anticipate therapy support needs, suitable equipment and levels of attendant support they will likely need to maintain their health and wellbeing.