Emotional Intelligence in Individuals With Intellectual disability

Emotional Intelligence in Individuals With Intellectual disability

Priyadharshini Sivasubramanian (Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1223-4.ch012
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This chapter is aimed to draw attention to the integrated understanding of an individual with intellectual disability. It is very well known that intellectual disability is described as significant inefficiency in cognitive skills like learning, reasoning, problem solving, and in adaptive behavior, but this is not all when the individual is considered as a whole. This is where emotional intelligence comes in to help the individual cope with the cognitive disability. This chapter will discuss emotional intelligence in people with intellectual disability and how understanding of this will lead to better management plans for individual with intellectual disability, which will in turn lead to better empowerment. Further, this chapter will discuss the research gaps in this area and future study scope.
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Intellectual disability, historically referred to as mental retardation, is characterized by significant impairments in intellectual functioning and limitations in adaptive behavior that begin prior to the age of 18 (Schalock et al. 2007). Conceptual, social, and practical skills such as personal care, use of the telephone, and managing money are examples of adaptive behaviour. The impact of intellectual disability can range from mild (e.g., a person can engage in meaningful conversation and carry out simple occupational skills) to profound (e.g., a person is completely dependent on others for personal care and has minimal verbal abilities) impairment. In the year 2011, U.S president Barack Obama signed a law called as Rosa’s law, in which the term mental retardation was replaced by Intellectual disability. Therefore, in DSM V the term used is intellectual disability. Individuals having this condition are not addressed as retards they are addressed as individual with intellectual disability. This was done keeping in mind that cognitive disability solely does not define an individual. An individual is an integration of cognitive abilities, emotional abilities and spiritual ability. To be precise, see the definition given by DSM V (2013):

Intellectual disability or intellectual developmental disorder is a disorder with onset during the developmental period that includes both intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits in conceptual, social and practical domains. The following two criteria must be met:

Deficits in intellectual functions, such as reasoning, problem solving, planning, abstract thinking, judgment, academic learning, and learning from experience, confirmed by both clinical assessment and individualized, standardized intelligence testing.

Deficits in adaptive functioning that result in failure to meet developmental and socio-cultural standards for personal independence and social responsibility. Without ongoing support, the adaptive deficits limit functioning in one or more activities of daily functioning such as communication social participation and independent living, across multiple environments, such as home, school, work and community.

In this chapter among the two deficits, focus will be on adaptive functioning. According to DSM V, adaptive functioning is how well a person meets community standards of personal independence and social responsibility. A simpler explanation of adaptive functioning is how a person responds to the given environment in a given time. The adaptive functioning is categorized into 3 domains: Contextual domain, Social domain and Practical domain.

The contextual domain involves competency in memory, language, reading, writing, math reasoning, and acquisition of practical knowledge, problem solving, and judgment in novel situations.

The social domain involves awareness of others thoughts, feelings and experiences, empathy, interpersonal communication skills, friendship abilities and social judgment among many others.

The practical domain involves learning and self management across life, which includes personal care, job responsibilities, money management, recreation, self management of behavior, school and work task organization among many others (DSM V).

This chapter aim to focus on the working status of emotional intelligence in individual with intellectual disability and how training in this area will enhance and improve the other domains. At the beginning let’s start with understanding what emotional intelligence is?

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