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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Penelope Jane Standen, Adam Clifford and Kiran Jeenkeri

The purpose of this paper is to provide information for non-specialists on identifying the characteristics, assessment and support needs of people with intellectual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide information for non-specialists on identifying the characteristics, assessment and support needs of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) accessing mainstream services.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of relevant policy and research literature is supplemented with observations from the authors’ own experience of working in mental health services for people with ID.

Findings

With change in provision of services the likelihood of mainstream staff encountering someone with ID will increase. However, information on whether a person has ID or their level of ID is not always available to professionals in acute mental health services meeting an individual for the first time. Reliance on observational and interview-based assessments can leave people with ID vulnerable to a range of over- and under-diagnosis issues. This is as a result of difficulties with communication and emotional introspection, psychosocial masking, suggestibility, confabulation and acquiescence. For people with poor communication, carers will be the primary source of information and their contribution has to be taken into account.

Practical implications

Knowing or suspecting an individual has ID allows staff to take into account the various assessment, diagnosis and formulation issues that complicate a valid and reliable understanding of their mental health needs. Awareness about an individual’s ID also allows professionals to be vigilant to their own biases, where issues of diagnostic overshadowing or cognitive disintegration may be important considerations. However, understanding some of the practical and conceptual issues should ensure a cautious and critical approach to diagnosing, formulating and addressing this population’s mental health needs.

Originality/value

This synthesis of a review of the literature and observations from the authors’ experience of working in mental health services for people with ID provides an informed and practical briefing for those encountering people with ID accessing mainstream services.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Jo Jones, Kiran Jeenkeri and Peter Cutajar

The paper is a review, for the general adult mental health practitioner, of the issues to consider when managing a mental health presentation of a person with intellectual…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper is a review, for the general adult mental health practitioner, of the issues to consider when managing a mental health presentation of a person with intellectual disability (PWID). The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A neurodevelopmental model is outlined to assist practitioners in unravelling the wide range of potential factors relevant to intellectual disabilities (IDs). This includes an emphasis on complexity and interdisciplinary formulation within an individual’s context, and implications of the current policy changes.

Findings

In practice, managing the mental health of PWID can be challenging within usual mainstream services; there is more to consider than is usual for the general population.

Originality/value

The paper provides general mental health practitioners with a framework for a greater depth of understanding of the issues involved in the management of people with intellectual disability (ID). This includes discussion of the current policy context in ID, and some of its limitations.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2016

Marco O. Bertelli, Kerim Munir, James Harris and Luis Salvador-Carulla

The debate as to whether intellectual disability (ID) should be conceptualized as a health condition or as a disability has intensified as the revision of World Health…

Abstract

Purpose

The debate as to whether intellectual disability (ID) should be conceptualized as a health condition or as a disability has intensified as the revision of World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is being finalized. Defining ID as a health condition is central to retaining it in ICD, with significant implications for health policy and access to health services. The purpose of this paper is to include some reflections on the consensus document produced by the first WHO Working Group on the Classification of MR (WHO WG-MR) and on the process that was followed to realize it. The consensus report was the basis for the development of official recommendations sent to the WHO Advisory Group for ICD-11.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed qualitative approach was followed in a series of meetings leading to the final consensus report submitted to the WHO Advisory group. These recommendations combined prior expert knowledge with available evidence; a nominal approach was followed throughout with face-to-face conferences.

Findings

The WG recommended a synonym set (“synset”) ontological approach to the conceptualisation of this health condition underlying a clinical rationale for its diagnosis. It proposed replacing MR with Intellectual Developmental Disorders (IDD) in ICD-11, defined as “a group of developmental conditions characterized by a significant impairment of cognitive functions, which are associated with limitations of learning, adaptive behaviour and skills”. The WG further advised that IDD be included under the parent category of neurodevelopmental disorders, that current distinctions (mild, moderate, severe and profound) be continued as severity qualifiers, and that problem behaviours removed from its core classification structure and instead described as associated features.

Originality/value

Within the ID/IDD synset two different names combine distinct aspects under a single construct that describes its clinical as well as social, educational and policy utilities. The single construct incorporates IDD as a clinical meta-syndrome, and ID as its functioning and disability counterpart. IDD and ID are not synonymous or mirror concepts as they have different scientific, social and policy applications. New diagnostic criteria for IDD should be based on a developmental approach, which accounts for the complex causal factors known to impact the acquisition of specific cognitive abilities and adaptive behaviours. The paper focuses on a new clinical framework for the diagnosis of IDD that also includes and complements the existing social, educational and policy components inherent in ID.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

Keywords

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