Intellectual Disability Treatment & Management For Young Adults
An intellectual disability can create limitations for individuals and their families. While many people with intellectual disabilities can manage okay physically – many even holding jobs and more – they can still face many challenges when it comes to daily living.
From a caretaker’s point of view, it’s often frustrating and overwhelming. What can you do for your loved one?
These are real concerns, but there is help available. For many young adults with intellectual disabilities, treatment, and management techniques are available to facilitate their needs as well as the needs of the family. Here’s an inside look.
Supporting from the Start
Children are often diagnosed with intellectual disabilities at a young age, often as a baby or during the 2 to 3-year-old range. It’s important to invest in education for yourself at this time.
You’ll want to learn about the disability, what it means, why it happens, and what you can do to get support. This is key – in nearly all communities, there are supportive networks available to parents.
However, they do not come to you. You need to be proactive to seek out the support you need. And, doing so can make a profound difference in your quality of life and your child’s ability to learn and grow. Early intervention is perhaps the hallmark first step. It includes developing an individualized family service plan that addresses the child’s specific needs.
From here, your child will receive some of the best support possible throughout his or her life. Working with supportive services allows you to create a foundation. From this foundation, it is then possible to build a place to incorporate treatments and the best level of skill possible.
Managing Day-to-Day Life as a Young Adult and Beyond
A child who obtains this type of care will grow into a young adult who is ready to handle more tasks on his or her own. However, the severity of the intellectual disability and the amount of skill a person learns ranges widely.
In some situations, it is simply not possible for your loved one to live on his or her own. Here are some key ways adults with intellectual disabilities may need support and guidance.
Behavior Support and Guidelines
Even as an adult, it will be essential to have clearly defined behavioral guidelines for those who have an intellectual disability. These rules govern the day to day life of any individual. They are meant not to limit, but to keep a person safe. They also are designed to encourage an individual to make the best decisions for themselves.
Social Skills Development
Involving a young adult or adult into social groups is very important. Like anyone else, these individuals need and flourish when they have friends and family to turn to. The goal, though, is always to create a structured environment.
Like with any other situation, when people come together, they will have differing opinions and needs. Your young adult will learn how to react to someone else who does not feel the same way they do. He or she will also need to focus on developing the ability to understand others, though this can be limited in some situations.
Health Maintenance and Day to Day Care
Depending on the severity of the intellectual disability, many individuals will need to seek out a solution for ensuring basic care is always met. For some people, providing these services within the home is possible.
A family member can help. For others, this is not logically beneficial. Residential programs may be necessary. The key is to teach skills from a young age and to enforce them with consistency. Yet, even in these situations, some people do not flourish as well.
Considering Advanced Support
Many people who have severe levels of limitation or those who may simply be unable to live on their own or with family need a residential level of care. Treatment here often is more intensive and may provide for more of the individual’s needs. Some programs offer benefits such as:
- Meeting the domestic skill and hygiene needs of the individual through teaching skills or through providing them
- Developing a personal care plan, one designed to address the individual’s needs and desires (which can be hard to facilitate in a traditional home environment)
- Creating daily living tasks that are enjoyable, supportive, and beneficial to the individual
- Providing a social environment for those who may need it the most
- Supporting their individual decisions about financial management, working in the community, serving in the community, and creating long-term goals
- Meeting the health needs of the individual including medication management or handling checkups
- Ensuring an individual’s mental health needs are met
In every situation, it is up to the parent or caregiver to determine the best level of care possible for their individual loved one. It goes without saying that individuals will need a customized care plan. There is no cure for intellectual disabilities, but it is often possible to foster a lifelong path of learning and skill development to ease their struggles and improve their day to day life.
Because of the unique needs here, it is nearly always beneficial to work with a provider who can offer guidance and care to help support their loved one. Whether through enhanced outings, improved social skills, or just ensuring a safe environment is always available, these services can help facilitate the best quality of life and success for individuals.