What causes intellectual disability

It is the most common of all developmental disorders

But, what causes intellectual disability?

Intellectual disability is incredibly common, and occurs in ALL races, religions, communities, cultures and social classes.

It affects around 3% of people on the planet. And can vary from very mild to very severe.

But we don’t hear as much about it as we do other special needs or disorders.

Most people understand what it is. But there are very few people who understand what causes intellectual disability.

The sad fact is that no one knows what all the causes are. In fact, there is more we don’t know about what causes intellectual disability than what we do know.

But there is one thing we do know about what causes intellectual disability. Which is that something interferes with the brain either before birth or in the early part of someone’s life.

But there are a few causes that we do know about.




We know that genetics is one of the main things that causes intellectual disability. Such as chromosomal change during very early pregnancy. Also, Intellectual disability can be hereditary.


Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy


Drugs and alcohol use during pregnancy can also cause intellectual disability. But what is really scary, is that alcohol is the single biggest known cause. I know many mothers who have drank during pregnancy simply because they have been unaware of the potential risks. So it is important to spread the awareness of this.


Infections during pregnancy


The mother contracting an infection such as rubella is now known as something that causes intellectual disability in the child.


Trauma during labour and birth


Rebecca Perkins - My Special ChildMy son has intellectual disability caused from this. My son went through a very traumatic labor and eventually had to be delivered by emergency C section.


Head Injuries at a young age


This can be head injuries from an accident or as a result of child abuse. The truly horrific thing about this is that this is one of the most common things that causes intellectual disabilities after foetal alcohol syndrome.


Health problems and diseases


There are numerous diseases that, if contracted at a young age can be something that causes intellectual disability. This includes; whooping cough, measles, meningitis, and also HIV related infections.

Although intellectual disabilities can occur in children from any social or financial  background, poverty is a factor.

Unfortunately, poverty can influence diet and the availability of fresh food. It can also influence the availability of medical treatment. And can have a bearing on environmental factors such as polutions. All of which can contribute to a child being intellectually disabled.

However, even though we know all these possible causes, there are still many causes that we don’t yet know.

check out the rest of myspecialchildonline.com for other information on special needs and learning difficulties.