Impact of Cognitive or Sensory Impairment on the Child and Family

Impact of Cognitive or Sensory Impairment on the Child and Family

  • Cognitive Impairment
    • Is a general term that encompasses any type of mental difficulty or deficiency
    • Used synonymously with “intellectual disability”
    • Diagnosis
      • Made after a period of suspicion by family or health professionals
      • In some instances, made at birth
  • Intellectual disability
    • Three components
      • Intellectual functioning
        • Subaverage intellectual function: IQ of 70 to 75 or below
      • Functional strengths and weaknesses
        • Impairment in 2 of 10 adaptive skills
      • Younger than age 18 at the time of diagnoses
  • Diagnosis and classification
    • Early signs suggestive of cognitive impairment
      • Dysmorphic syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome [FXS])
      • Irritability or non-responsiveness to environment
      • Major organ system dysfunction (e.g., feeding or breathing difficulties)
      • Gross motor delay
      • Fine motor delay
      • Language difficulties or delay
      • Behavior difficulties
  • Etiology
    • Infection and intoxication, such as congenital rubella, syphilis, maternal drug consumption (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome), chronic lead ingestion, or kernicterus
    • Trauma or physical agent (e.g., injury to the brain experienced during the prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal period)
    • Inadequate nutrition and metabolic disorders, such as phenylketonuria or congenital hypothyroidism
    • Gross postnatal brain disease, such as neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis
    • Unknown prenatal influence, including cerebral and cranial malformations, such as microcephaly and hydrocephalus
    • Chromosomal abnormalities resulting from radiation; viruses; chemicals; parental age; and genetic mutations, such as Down syndrome and FXS
    • Gestational disorders, including prematurity, low birth weight, and post-maturity
    • Psychiatric disorders that have their onset during the child’s developmental period up to 18 years of age, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)
    • Environmental influences, including evidence of a deprived environment associated with a history of intellectual disability among parents and siblings

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