1890 333 777 To Make An Appointment or book@spectrumhealth.ie

Learning Disability

Intellectual Disability/Learning Disability is a term used when there are limits to a person’s ability to learn at an expected level and function in daily life. Levels of intellectual disability vary greatly in children – from a mild problem to a severe problem. Children with Intellectual Disability might have a hard time letting others know their wants and needs, and taking care of themselves. Children with Intellectual Disability learn and develop more slowly than other children of the same age. It could take longer for a child with Intellectual Disability to learn to speak, walk, dress, or eat without help, and they could have trouble learning in school.

A diagnosis of Intellectual Disability or Learning Disability is made by a Psychologist subsequent to a detailed assessment of their cognitive functioning. 

Treatment Of Communication Difficulties associated with ID

Depending on your child’s communication abilities, our expert Child Speech & Language Therapist will devise an individualised treatment plan using the latest evidence based practice.

Assessment: We will first assess exactly how and why your child is communicating. We will do this through informal checklists and standardised assessments.

Treatment: Depending on your child’s age and language abilities your Speech and Language Therapist will recommend appropriate treatment options. This may include AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication) such as ‘Lamh’ or assistive technology which can support a child with Intellectual Disability who is non-verbal or has limited expressive language or extending language development through tried and tested means for the verbal child. This will usually involve weekly sessions with our Speech and Language Therapist.

Child Friendly: All treatment modalities that we use will be child friendly and usually involve using pictures and games to encourage communication and interaction and help motivate your child.

Guidance: We will guide you on the best ways to successfully transfer the skills learned in our clinic setting to home and other everyday settings.

Support: Worksheets will be provided each week in order to encourage and facilitate regular practice and improvement at home between your child’s sessions. At all stages throughout the treatment plan, we will provide detailed guidance for you on how to support your child’s communication development between sessions depending on what stage of treatment they are at.

Difficulties associated with Intellectual Disability

There are many signs of Intellectual Disability. For example, children with ID may:

  • Sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children

  • Learn to talk later, or have trouble speaking

  • Find it hard to remember things

  • Have trouble understanding social rules

  • Have trouble seeing the results of their actions

  • Have trouble solving problems

We recommend that you book in for a 30 minute informal assessment and we will be able to provide guidance on your child’s communication ability, further assessment and treatment if needed. 

It is important to remember to bring your child's Psychological Assessment Report with you to the appointment where you child's diagnosis is outlined. This will help inform the Speech and Language Therapist's assessment and approach to therapy.

Our Expertise in working with Children who have Intellectual Disability and associated communication Problems

Spectrum Health’s Speech and Language Therapists can support parents to communicate with their child through many communication modes including pictures, gestures, words and body language depending on the level of communication difficulty. The Speech and Language Therapist will work with you and your child to set specific and realistic goals around your child’s communication.

At Spectrum Health our Speech and Language Therapists work alongside other members of the Primary Care team to support a child with an Intellectual Disability. Spectrum Health SLTs will work closely with other members of the integrated primary care team to ensure your child achieves their maximum potential.

All of Spectrum Health’s Paediatric Speech and Language therapists are qualified from University with a B.Sc. or M.sc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy and have ample experience working with children who have a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability(ID).