Mental Retardation Leaves: Intellectual Disabilities Enter…From MR to ID….Freud Returns
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 15, 2013
Mental Retardation no longer exists. It has joined Asperger’s in the ‘remember when’ category. In comes intellectual disability, (ID), to remind us of Freud’s understanding of the id. A mere coincidence, I understand, but too close for my taste. In parenthesis the DSM 5 adds intellectual developmental disorder (IDD). So, the IQ test is no longer the defining feature of intellectual disability. One must consider functioning level. There are three domains of functioning: conceptual, social and practical. The conceptual domain includes skills in language, reading, writing, math, reasoning, knowledge and memory. The social domain refers to empathy, social judgment, interpersonal communication skills, the ability to make and retain friendships and similar capacities. The practical domain centers on self-management in areas such as personal care, job responsibilities, money management, recreation and organizing school and work tasks. So, what is my take? Much ado about nothing. A good assessment has always been a key feature in understanding disability. This assessment has always included understanding the impact of the disability on day-to-day life. Does the label change help parents? I do not think so. Does it help professionals approach the problem in a more comprehensive way? No. Was it important for my peers to spend countless hours debating this change to DSM 5? Maybe. They argue that this change brings the terminology in line with the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the US Department of Education. The name does suggest a spectrum of children, who for a variety of reasons, have developmental challenges, requiring them to have much-needed services to maximize their developmental potential. In this way, creating this umbrella does make sense.