People with a mild intellectual disability

For several reasons people with a mild intellectual disability are at risk of feeling rejected and not understood.

They usually live included in the community and see what other people have and do. They want the same, but don’t understand why this isn’t always possible. Other people may overestimate them because at first sight you don’t see that the actual abilities of the person  is influenced by his disharmonious development. He may look more capable than he actually is. This will evokes reactions of disappointment or irritation toward the person.


A specific problem is, that these people are at extra risk of in getting involved in use of drugs, alcohol or criminal behaviors.

People with a mild intellectual disability who have often felt rejected or punished may  become hostile to help and guidance by caregivers.  Instead of continuing domineering them and using reward and punishment to control their behaviors, we should teach them to trust us and to feel safe with us and loved by us. We should stop judging their behaviors and become unconditional. We honor their expressions and dreams, but we also recognize the limited ability they may have as a result of their disharmonious development.


This is difficult. We speak with them as adults, use words they can understand with their intellectual abilities and give a message they can handle with their emotional abilities. This is quite a balancing act.