Working with people with intellectual disabilities

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
Burns, J. (2015)
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject: RC467 | HV1551

This chapter looks at why, and how, a clinical psychologist might work with a person with intellectual disabilities. It provides a definition of what intellectual disability is and how it is assessed. The epidemiology and aetiology of intellectual disabilities will also be described. The chapter will explain that clinical psychologists do not see people because they have intellectual disabilities, but as a consequence of the additional challenges faced by people in this group. Having an intellectual disability may bring additional physical and life challenges that most people would find difficult to manage. However, having intellectual disabilities also means that your intellectual capacity is more limited meaning that dealing with these issues can be even more difficult, leaving you vulnerable to experiencing a greater risk of psychological and behavioural problems. Clinical psychologists are well equipped to help individuals with intellectual disabilities in this situation and may work directly with them, their carers or with wider organizational care and support services. The chapter will describe the types of interventions used and their evidence base, and provide a case example of how such a problem may be assessed, formulated and an intervention developed. Historically, people with intellectual disabilities have been a group that have been excluded and stigmatized and it has been difficult for them collectively to challenge this position. Today, the picture is more positive with people with intellectual disabilities having more opportunity to voice their concerns and exert their right to access appropriate services, however as will be explored at the end of the chapter there remains a fine balance between the expression of individual choice and protection by others, which remains one of the most critical issues facing working in this area today.
  • References (6)

    2. Improving Health and Lives Intellectual Disabilities Intellectual Disabilities Observatory - lots of accessible information about the health of people with learning disabilities

    3. NHS North East - Two downloadable booklets about end of life and bereavement for people with intellectual disabilities to work through

    4. Faculty for Intellectual Disabilities Intellectual Disabilities of the British Psychological Society - useful guidance documents

    5. Family Planning Association - A list of resources to help manage an individual with intellectual disabilities sexuality

    6. British Institute of Intellectual Disabilities Intellectual Disabilities - a range of useful resources

    7. Mencap - information and campaigning charity

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