Module 11 - Psychological Therapies and Social Interventions

Physical health assessment

People with an intellectual disability often have great difficulty in accessing appropriate health care. Certain instances of disability may relate to the presence of a ‘syndrome’; that is a group of medical conditions which have a common (usually genetic) origin. This means that such people may be at greater risk of certain types of illness occurring e.g. people with Down Syndrome are at increased risk of developing both leukaemia and dementia. During childhood and adolescence, their health needs are often looked after by a paediatrician; however on turning 18 there may be no easy transfer to a health provider within the general medical system. In childhood, dental care may also be managed by a specialist dental service which visits a special developmental school, for example. It is very helpful to identify a general practitioner and dentist with an interest in people with an intellectual disability who can establish a relationship with the person early on and who will be at hand to identify any ongoing health problems as they arise. As mentioned in other modules, people with a moderate to severe intellectual disability may have difficulty identifying what is wrong with them and where pain or discomfort originates from, and may demonstrate behavioural and emotional problems as a result of this. At such times being able to call upon a health practitioner with whom the patient is familiar can be of great assistance.
Home Home Select Module Select Module About VDDS About VDDS Provide Feedback Provide Feedback Continue Learning