Intellectual disability means difficulties with learning and understanding new things. The way in which intellectual disability affects people’s lives varies to a large degree. The disability may be mild, in which case the person can cope relatively independently and needs support only in certain spheres of life. Persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities need continuous support.
All people have however also various strengths and abilities. Everyone has the right to develop and learn new things through proper support.
There are very many possible causes for intellectual disability. It can be caused by genetic factors or problems during pregnancy. Other causes include lack of oxygen at birth, childhood injury and childhood illnesses. Also alcohol use during pregnancy can cause developmental disabilities or learning difficulties in a child.
The cause of disability remains undetermined in about 30 percent of the mild and about 50 percent of the profound cases of intellectual disability.
It is estimated that there are around 40 000 people with intellectual disability in Finland.