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Objective 5 Research on intellectual disability and giftedness
Undergraduate 1

Additional Psychology Flashcards




Intellectual Disability Definition
– people who have an IQ of 70 or less and significant limitations in at least two aspects of everyday life since childhood (lacking to dress yourself, communicate for yourself etc.).
- Intellectual empariment does not mean incapability of learning. People who operate at a lower level of IQ can still learn but will require more support, may take more time, or may never learn to the same stage as higher learners.
Intellectual Disability percentage
- Because of variations in definition, no precise prevalence figures can be given, but in various developed countries estimates of between 0.5% and 1.5% are common, with more males than females
- Approx. 1% of the adult population in New Zealand (Statistics NZ, 2006)
Problems of intellectual functioning:
Causes include:
- Can occur when a brain fails to develop properly. Can occur in womb, after birth or childhood.
- Can be genetic causes and environmental causes, but about one third of the causes are unknown.

- Is in a continuum. For some individuals it may have a huge impact, in others it may only have a mild impact
- Estimated that 1/3 of cases may have no known cause.
Genetic abnormalities include:
- Down's Syndrome
- Fragile X Syndrome
- Autism
Down syndrome
- caused by presence of extra chromosome (during conceotion), commonly # 21.
- Prevents neurons from developing properly, action potential does not operate as it does in normal individuals.
- Not unusual to have a lower level of IQ scores, need for extra support.
- Incidence can increase (but is not solely to) older parents.
- Genetic component but is not inherited in the same way as genetic disorders (person with down syndrome could have child with no down syndrome.
Fragile X Syndrome
- Small bit of DNA on the X chromosome repeats itself which makes it more prone and fragile to breaking up
- People who carry can display syndrome, and two people who get together and both have fragile X can make children more vulnerable to displaying the syndrome, and compounds throughout generations.
- Twice as many males as females suffer from this disorder, as males have one X chromosome while females have two. Females are more likely to be the carrier, males are more likely to have syndrome if they carry gene
- Intellectal disability, movements affected, aspects of comprehension, aphasia
- 75% have an IQ less than 70.
- Some say it is based on genetics, others say it is not
Problems during pregnancy that can cause intellectual functioning
- Alcohol and Drug use. Has a huge impact on developing brain, can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, correlates with lower level of IQ. Cocaine can cause the blood vessels in developing drug to burst, and child cannot block out extraneous noise.
- Malnutrition. People don’t have the right amount of nutrition they require. May be due to lack of resources or purposefully not eating to stay thing.
- Maternal infection, e.g. Rubella, HIV
Problems at Birth that can cause intellectual functioning
- Prematurity
- Low Birth Weight
Problems After Birth that can cause intellectual functioning
- Poisons, e.g. Carbon Monoxide or lead poisoning
- Physical Trauma
- Childhood diseases
"Gifted" children stats
Have an IQ of at least 135, but researchers are focusing on people with IQ’s higher than 150-180.
- Have not found a genetic reason
- In some cases, may reflect child being “advanced” for age, with chronological age “catching up”, although even in adulthood IQ score likely to remain high.
- Need high stimulation and support to keep them motivated and stimulated to continue improving
- Not unusual for them to have sharply differing abilities e.g. may be have very high ability in mathematics but less in verbal, so will need to support to extend in math and improve in verbal
- Not unusual to be treated as more socially awkward, will engage in more solitary activities, more introverted, more likely to encounter more social problems.
IQ in comparison to other aspects of personality
- As with unusually low IQ, “mental age” refers only to intellectual capacity; other aspects of cognitive and emotional maturity may match chronological age
- High IQ not necessarily associated with high creativity, with result that the children are good at absorbing existing knowledge but do not show outstanding ability in terms of producing anything new.
Gifted child vs Gifted adult?
There is no direct correlation. It is not unusual to see a highly gifted child be extremely talented at a young age and level out to average when older. Or a highly gifted adult who was an ordinary kid.
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