Understanding MID

Understanding Mild Intellectual Disability (MID)

Intellectual disability is a development disorder where the individual faces more difficulty than others in grasping concepts and solving problems.

Disorder Characteristics

Intellectual disability involves impairments of general mental abilities that impact adaptive functioning. Some of the common problems faced by MID individuals may include:

  • Difficulty remembering what is taught
  • Takes a longer time to learn
  • Poor understanding skills
  • Weak problem solving
  • Short attention span
  • Poor social skills
  • Poor coping skills
  • Shouting
  • Tantrums
  • Meltdowns


While intellectual disability does not havea specific age requirement, an individual’ssymptoms must begin during the developmental period and are diagnosed based on the severityof deficits in adaptive functioning. The disorderis considered chronic and often co-occurs with other mental conditions, such as:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Down Syndrome (DS)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Epilepsy

Diagnosis & Treatment

Where there is a co-existence of mental illness and intellectual disability, accurate diagnosis and treatment are particularly challenging because of the individual’s impaired cognitive abilities andattention, functional deficits, communication difficulties, and other co-morbid developmentaldisabilities, such as autism.

For people with intellectual disability, mental disorders can seriously affect their daily functioning, disrupt family relations, and prevent access to community resources for care, training and habitation. The mental disorderoften manifests as behavioural difficulties orchanges, which require a proper assessment from an inter-disciplinary team of mental health professionals, so that appropriate treatment can be given. Treatment includes the judicious use of medicines, behavioural therapy and occupational therapy. The treatment plans usually look into addressing sensory issues, improving communication skills, advising on environmental manipulation, changing maladaptive behaviour and optimising functional capabilities.