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March is Intellectual Disability Awareness Month
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March is recognized as Intellectual Disability Awareness Month a month set aside to focus on the abilities and needs of people with Intellectual Disability, their quality of life and the prevention of this condition.

In Texas Intellectual Disability is defined as a usually permanent condition originating sometime between birth and age 18. The person's general intellectual functioning is significantly below average (roughly an IQ of 70 or below) and his or her behavior does not meet the level of personal independence and social responsibility expected of the person's age and culture. Intellectual Disability is found among all races and cultures. An estimated three percent of the population has Intellectual Disability.

Intellectual Disability: Not the Same as Mental Illness
Intellectual Disability and mental illness are not the same condition, although they can occur in the same person. Unlike mental illness, Intellectual Disability always is associated with limited intellectual capacity, it occurs before age 18, and it is a permanent condition.

In contrast, mental illness is not associated with a particular level of intelligence, it may occur in a person at any age, and it is often temporary and treatable.  Like all other persons, individuals with Intellectual Disability can become mentally ill and they can be treated for their mental illness.

Did you know?

People with Intellectual Disability experience emotions common to all human beings: joy, sadness, anger, boredom, interest. They can learn, adjust socially and benefit from appropriate education, training, personal care and opportunities to work.

The range of possible Intellectual Disability, based on both intellectual and social criteria, is commonly divided into four levels: mild, moderate, severe and profound. The level of Intellectual Disability is the main factor that determines the degree of outside assistance the person with Intellectual Disability needs to live a comfortable, productive life. Persons with mild Intellectual Disability often can merge into competitive labor and daily community life with minimal assistance, while persons with moderate Intellectual Disability may need more training and support in order to live successfully in the community.

Individuals who have a severe or profound level of Intellectual Disability frequently have disabilities in addition to Intellectual Disability. They need more assistance than persons with mild or moderate Intellectual Disability; persons with profound Intellectual Disability need a great deal of basic physical care or supervision to live.

The majority of persons with Intellectual Disability are at a mild or moderate level. They can live and work independently or semi-independently in the community. Those with severe or profound levels of Intellectual Disability can learn to care for themselves and function successfully in the community with varying levels of supervision.

Causes of Intellectual Disability
Intellectual Disability is caused by conditions that hinder development before birth, during birth, or during the period from birth to age 18. More than 200 causes have been identified; however, because much is still unknown about Intellectual Disability, the identified causes account for only about a fourth of all cases of Intellectual Disability.

Frequently recognized causes include:

  • Substance abuse (the most common cause today).
  • Certain illnesses experienced by the mother during pregnancy.
  • Chromosome abnormality.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Destruction of brain tissue or interference with brain development.
  • Environmental factors.

Several factors may be at work in the same individual. For example, a premature infant is particularly vulnerable to brain damage. Premature delivery is more common among mothers who receive inadequate prenatal care, and inadequate prenatal care in turn is more common in underprivileged groups. Individuals in these groups have a greater chance of encountering accidents, disease, and malnutrition and less opportunity for sensory and social stimulation.

Did you know?

  • Intellectual Disability is found among all races, cultures and socio-economic groups
  • An estimated 3% of the population has Intellectual Disability.
  • Over 6,000 people in the City of Lubbock have Intellectual Disability as do
  • An additional 1,121 people in the rest of Lubbock County.

People with Intellectual Disability access the same generic services as all other citizens in the community. There are many organizations and private businesses in the Lubbock area that provide those specialized supports/services that a person with Intellectual Disability may need.

Some of the supporting organizations and businesses in the Lubbock area are:

Advocacy. Inc.; American Habilitation; Becca Health Care; CALAB, Inc.; Community Access, Inc.; Communities in Schools (CIS); Early Childhood Intervention (ECI); StarCare Specialty Health System; Lubbock State School; Mosaic; Rockhouse; Special Olympics Texas; Texas Rehabilitation Commission; YWCA.

Visit these websites for more information:


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