Talking to Someone with Intellectual Disability

Every person is different and people with intellectual disability should be treated as the unique individuals they are.

Having an understanding of the nature of the person’s intellectual disability and how it impacts on their development can help you to communicate and convey messages effectively.

Some people benefit from a variety of communication and learning methods and using pictures and gestures can be helpful for some people with intellectual disability.

Abstract concepts, such as time, can be difficult to understand for some people with intellectual disability. By introducing context, or something that is meaningful to the individual, such as “what were you watching on television” or “was it before or after dinner?” you may help to establish timing.

It is important to be prepared to wait for an answer; give enough time to allow the person to process the information. It is also very important to avoid interrupting and not finish the person’s sentences.

If you don’t know what to do, just ask the person and find out!