WHAT DOES IT MEAN BY INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY?
According to the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore (n.d, 2012), intellectual disability is
defined by 3 factors:
1) Intellectual Quotient (IQ) of 70 or less
2) limited capability to live and work independently as well as challenges with verbal communication and
3) evidence(s) depicting cognitive limitations and difficulties living independently during developmental period.
At Mamre Oaks, we cater to a dynamic group of special needs – each with distinctive needs and behavioural patterns.
Intellectual disability is the most common type of developmental disabilities. To name a few, Global Developmental Delay (GDD), Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy are some of the conditions we may be familiar or commonly heard of today. There are other disorders that are rare and of which the public may be unaware of like Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, Turner syndrome and Prada Wili syndrome.
Due to the impairment in physical and intellectual abilities or a loss of function on a certain chromosomes, the limitations that these individuals faced has an impact on their day to day functioning.
On top of understanding their challenges and limitations, it is important for us to also recognise their emotional needs and potential capabilities so that we can create a supportive environment for these individuals to build their strengths and abilities.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIVERSE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY
Person-first language has become imperative in introducing an inclusive society by recognizing that individuals are not to be labelled by their diagnosis, influencing the way we approach and address the population in a respectful and humanistic manner the best way possible.
"the disabled one" (wrong)
"The individual living with intellectual or developmental disability" (correct)
THEY ARE LIKE YOU AND I!
FILLING THE GAP
Like you and I, individuals with special needs also want to fulfil basic emotional needs such as having a sense of autonomy, belonging, achievement and security. Creating positive experience in the community is pivotal in helping them to feel valued and worthy.
The concept of dignity for individuals with special needs involves a collective effort to transform cultural challenges where stigmas or stereotypes still persist today. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We all have a significant role to play to create an empowering and welcoming environment where differences are embraced and individuals are respected for their presence regardless of their disabilities. If we can continue to spread the effort, we are not just creating a positive environment but also an opportunity for individuals with special needs to display their potential and strength.