Mildly mentally handicapped

People with LVB, mild intellectual disabilities. A broad target group with many uncertainties, because every disability is different. In this article I describe, among other things, the characteristics, causes and requests for help from people with LVB.

A mild intellectual disability

Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability are limited in their intellectual functioning and/or in their social skills. An important starting point for identifying a mild intellectual disability is the IQ score. This is between 50 and 85 (Koot, 2010). As a result, learning and upbringing problems, (serious) behavioral problems or psychiatric problems often arise in combination with problems in the family situation. A mild intellectual disability can have various causes. In approximately 50%, the cause of this disability is demonstrable: 50-70% is related to pregnancy or birth and 10-20% is related to an abnormality in the DNA (Karakter, 2012).


Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability have difficulty learning, they do not understand certain things in the same way and/or within the same time as other children and young people. They learn more slowly and with difficulty, assess situations differently and have problems coming up with solutions and implementing them. Their development is delayed, as the person gets older the disability becomes more noticeable. People with intellectual disabilities are easily influenced by other people, which is why they are often abused.
Communication is usually possible with people with mild intellectual disabilities. They have their own tastes and especially want to be able to make their own choices. So they have an idea of their life, for example what they want to do and with whom they want to do something. An important characteristic is that these children and young people are often focused on themselves and their own situation.
Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability are socially extra vulnerable and therefore have an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. They often react differently than normally gifted children and young people. Their social-emotional development is limited, but they understand that they are different from other children and young people. As a result, they often have little self-confidence, a negative self-image and fear of failure. When they find themselves in a difficult situation, they often panic and do not know how to respond to the situation. These children and young people are often overestimated or underestimated in everyday life, because their disability is usually not immediately visible. This sometimes causes additional problems (Hobmair, 2008).

Ask for help

Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability have a long-term need for support. This often involves multiple problems, making life without support almost impossible. This means that a complex problem usually arises from interrelated problems. Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability have difficulty coping in these social situations. This limited adaptability and the failure to find a solution strategy also explains why a mild intellectual disability should be seen as a contextual problem (Hobmair, 2008).
Koot (2010) distinguishes eleven relevant functional areas in which problems can manifest themselves.

  • Communication
  • Self-care
  • Living on your own
  • Social and relational skills
  • Use community facilities
  • Making decisions independently
  • Functional intellectual skills
  • Work
  • Relaxation
  • Health
  • Safety


Points of attention for health and diseases

Susceptibility to physical illness

It is important for this target group to provide good information, guidance and support with eating, personal hygiene and the hygiene of the living environment. For example, with food: guiding people in healthy eating and eating enough, and not too much. It is important to have good hygiene, this affects your resistance and your health. If this target group does not receive proper guidance, there is a chance that they will develop low resistance (Endt-Meijling, 2008).

Susceptibility to mental disorders

As mentioned earlier, it is important for a care provider to prevent diseases and disorders that may arise as a result of their intellectual disability. Children and young people with a mild intellectual disability have learning and upbringing problems, which can often lead to serious behavioral problems and/or psychiatric problems and disorders. Due to their intellectual disability, these children and young people usually have a negative self-image and little self-confidence in their own abilities and actions. As a result, they can often develop disorders such as depression. It is important that these children and young people get to know their weak but especially strong sides of their personality. In this way, self-esteem is kept as high as possible and children and young people learn to benefit from their strengths (Emmerson, 2003)

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