Till startsida
University of Gothenburg
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Mental retardation: prevalence, associated disabilities and follow-up of children - now young adults - born to mothers with mild mental retardation

Participants: Elisabeth Fernell, Ida Lindblad, Eva Billstedt & Christopher Gillberg.

Background: Mild mental retardation refers to impairments of general cognitive abilities. Constituting the main problem are difficulties pertaining to theoretical thinking. In many cases there are additional cognitive impairments.

Method: The occurrence of mild mental retardation in children and adolescents has been studied in a region in the southwest of Sweden. Using the Five-To-Fifteen questionnaire (FTF), the occurrence of associated disabilities, especially ADHD, was also analysed. This functional area is part of PhD student and psychologist Ida Lindblad's dissertation project carried out at GNC. In a subsequent study, a follow-up of children – now young adults – born to mothers with mild mental retardation is being conducted. The study is population-based and aimed at examining the current situation for these young adults.

Results: The prevalence of mild mental retardation in the municipalities studied was 0.85%. The proportion of children and adolescents with one or more additional disorders was high. It turned out that 55-80% of the children with mild mental retardation also had significant difficulties in areas like motor skills, executive functions, social skills and emotional/mental symptoms. Around half showed indications of concurrent ADHD.
The study concerning the life situation for children - now young adults - born to mothers with mental retardation comprised 42 individuals, ages 18 to 25. Three had passed away during childhood, one had moved abroad and seven declined to participate. Ten individuals participated in an interview study and for the remaining 21 information was instead collected through different records. When these two groups were combined it turned out that 11 individuals (35%) had mild mental retardation themselves and 9 (29%) had ADHD. Sixteen children (52%) had been placed in foster homes or had a contact family when growing up.

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with intellectual disability need to be examined with regard to additional disorders so that support and intervention can be adjusted accordingly in preschool and school, as well as later in life.
Results from the study concerning the life situation for children - now young adults - of mothers with mild mental retardation show that these children constitute a vulnerable group. They are exposed to "double risks"; firstly the genetic risk of inheriting neurodevelopmental/neuropsychiatric disorders and secondly the risks related to inadequate parent support and care.

Articles:

2014
Lindblad, I., Billstedt, E., Gillberg, C., & Fernell, E. (2014). A register study of life events in young adults born to mothers with mild intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 18, 351-363.

2013
Lindblad, I., Billstedt, E., Gillberg, C., & Fernell, E. (2013). An interview study of young adults born to mothers with mild intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 17, 329-338.

2011
Lindblad, I., Gillberg, C., & Fernell, E. (2011). ADHD and other associated developmental problems in children with mild mental retardation. The use of the "Five-To-Fifteen" questionnaire in a population-based sample. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32, 2805-2809.

 

 


 

Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 10/7/2015
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