Intellectual Disability & Your Child

Children with intellectual disability can show a delay in their understanding of the world and take longer to think and learn new skills, such as talking, dressing and eating independently.

The difference in skills can become more obvious as children grow older; for example, a child with a slower rate of learning may have a delay of one or two years in learning to talk but may later show a delay of many more years in learning to read.

Discovering your child has intellectual disability can be challenging and distressing time. It’s a change that can affect you emotionally, physically and socially and it requires you to adapt to a range of changes for which you may need advice, support and guidance.

There is no right way to react when you learn that your child has intellectual disability; you may feel shock, anger, grief or denial. Every person is different, but talking about your feelings to a friend, family member or professional can help.

All children, however, continue to learn and as adults they will also continue to develop new skills. Each new skill contributes to the growing person’s scope for activity that they enjoy and participation in society.

A child living with intellectual disability may need more time and practice than other children, but like all children it is important to celebrate your child’s achievements throughout their life. Like all children, they need to feel good about themselves.