Mild Intellectual Disability

Intelligence is the seat of reasoning, planning, problem-solving, critical thinking, understanding, reflection, idea, and comprehending the complex situation. Intellectual ability is the ability of a person to actively think, reflect, comprehend, and make use of his/her intelligence quotient in life situations. Intelligence is a mental exercise that put the brain and mind into active participation in life. According to research, it has been observed that some children who grow up with intellectual disabilities start with being mild. Let us know more detail about ‘Mild Intellectual Disability’.

Mild Intellectual Disability

Mild Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by having difficulties in the conceptual, social, and practical aspects of the child’s life. Intellectual disability starts to form at a young age which starts with being mild before it gets to moderate and severe. However, mild intellectual disability is characterized by slow development in cognitive and social skills.

The aspect of development in a child

  • Conceptual: Conceptual abilities are the cognitive abilities that deal with intelligence, reasoning, arithmetic and calculation, thinking, knowledge, and memory.
  • Social: This is the ability of a child to relate and communicate with friends, it encompasses relationships, communication, making friends, meeting new people, and tolerating their behavior.
  • Practical: This is defined as the ability to do physical and practical work, and try to be independent in doing things, like personal care

What is mild intellectual disability?

A mild intellectual disability is a disorder that occurs in the early developmental stage of a child that makes his/her intelligence quotient below 70. A child with a mild intellectual disability will have slow conceptual, social, and practical skills. It involves a low intelligence quotient and other problems that include learning, speech, and social disability.

Symptoms of a mild intellectual disability

The following are the symptoms of a mild intellectual disability:-

  • Speech disability: Children with a mild intellectual disability take longer to talk but when they start to talk, they can communicate well
  • In their early stage of development, they have problems reading and writing
  • They are slow learners
  • Their intelligence quotient range from 50 to 69
  • They can live alone when they get older, that is, they become independent as they grow older
  • Social immaturity.

What causes intellectual disability?

There are so many factors that can contribute to a child having an intellectual disability and they include:-

  • Malformation of the brain
  • Delivery-related problems such as inadequate oxygen or flow of blood or poor nutrition during and after childbirth
  • Genetic problem: A child can have an intellectual disability due to genetic problems like Turner Syndrome, Down Syndrome
  • It may precede a chronic illness such as measles, smallpox, tuberculosis typhoid, etc.
  • Exposure to numerous radiations and X-rays 
  • An accident during childhood, an accident may leave the last longing mark on a child especially when it involves the brain
  • Diagnosis of a wrong injection: This can also leave a lasting effect on a child by the lackadaisical attitude of medical personnel.
  • Exposure to poisonous chemicals such as lead and mercury 

How is a mild intellectual disability diagnosed?

A child with a mild intellectual disability is diagnosed by subjecting the child to evaluations and tests. The result of the child is always below the average of the normal intelligence quotient of a child. These tests include:-

  • Interview
  • Observation
  • Standard test

The child’s intelligence is determined by subjecting him to a standardized test, an example is SBIT, the Stranford Binet intelligence test. Also, tests are administered to students to determine the social skills of the child compared to other children in his age bracket. 

To diagnose, the doctor must have interviewed you and the child and made observations on the gestures and disposition of the child. You can also contact the doctor to perform laboratory tests to detect a genetic problem if it becomes severe.

However, the result of the test will make the doctor, the parents, and also the teacher work hand in hand to help this child manage the situation, correct some deficiencies that can be corrected and manage the ones that cannot.

Possible Treatment for a child with mild intellectual disability

Intellectual disability is a lifelong disorder. However, mild intellectual disability can be managed, and some of the symptoms can be corrected wile the other symptoms can be managed. Therefore, the earlier you give it maximum attention, the better it is for the child because it will improve the functioning and output of the child and give room for excelling, thriving, and succeeding throughout their lifetime.

When an intellectual disability is diagnosed, there should be instant and immediate care for the child. Also, there should be a focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the child, the parent must be actively involved in the growth and development of the child. 

Many support and services can help. Under federal law, it has been stated that children with a disorder should be given free special education including children with intellectual disability.

  • Special education
  • Counseling session
  • Love and fun 
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medication

Mild intellectual disability in the classroom

Students with mild intellectual disabilities often have slow assimilation levels, they are slow learners and they often need special care, and attention from the teacher so that they will not lag. Also, they may need extra lessons and teachers may have to do extra work with their speech development. Also, their peers see them as socially aversed especially when they cannot relate. They tend to forget things easily, are disorganized, and easily swing moods

Tips for Parents

Children with mild intellectual ability should be taken care of, and be monitored closely by their parents. Also, they should be shown love and be helped especially at the early stage so it will not become profound and severe. The following are the tips for parents:-

  • Be inclined about your child’s inability: Read books and know how to manage the situation.
  • Seek the help of a counselor: Counselors are underrated but they are the real deal when dealing with a disability, book counseling sessions with a counselor in that field. The help they will render will go a long way in reshaping and molding the child.
  • Be patient: An intellectual disability may come with learning slowly and a speech disorder. You must be patient with your child, and do not shout or scold them when they do not learn at the pace they are supposed.
  • Correct in love: You may have to repeat a concept before they can understand it. However, you must correct in love and be patient.
  • Learn principles and guidelines to help manage the situation: You may need to read books, listen to podcasts and watch videos of people who did not let the disability they have hold them back.
  • Constantly help your child to build confidence and self-esteem: A mild intellectual ability always comes with a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, it is important to help your child see his self-worth and esteem and make him see that the disability cannot hold him back from leading a fulfilling life.

Why you should take cognizance of your child’s progress and development?

  • You want your child to live a fulfilling life and reach the peak of their career 
  • You want your child to have been confident and be able to stand among his/her peers without feeling intimidated
  • You want your child to live a happy life void of regrets
  • You want your child to be able to relate and express him/herself without exhibiting fear

Tips for Teachers 

Teachers have a significant impact on the life of a child and their influence can go a long way in how a child behaves. The following are ways a teacher can help a student with a mild intellectual disability:-

  • Give the student special attention
  • Design a teaching technique that will help the child understand
  • You must be patient and be ready to explain concepts over and over again 
  • Always motivate the child and be aware of the fact that he can become anything he wants to become
  • The teacher must show the student genuine love and must help him relate with other students
  • Encourage them and boost their self-esteem always.
  • Create an atmosphere whereby they can express themselves and instill confidence in them


In conclusion, a mild intellectual disability is a disorder that can be managed, however, certain traits can be corrected at the early stage of development. With the support of the family, early intervention, counseling, love, patience, and medical attention(if necessary), a child with a mild intellectual disability can live a normal life, have good self-esteem and confidence, and also live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Q1. What is a mild intellectual disability?

A mild intellectual disability is a disorder in a child which results in the child having slow conceptual, social, and practical skill. It involves a low intelligence quotient and other problems that include learning, speech, and social disability.

  • Q2. What are the causes of a mild intellectual disability?
  1. Malformation of the brain
  2. Delivery-related problems
  3. Genetic problem
  • Q3. What are the roles of teachers in managing students with mild intellectual disabilities?
  1. Give the student special attention
  2. Design a teaching technique that will help the child understand
  3. You must be patient and be ready to explain concepts over and over again.