When ID is suspected, it is particularly important that the child has a comprehensive evaluation to find out the cause of the ID, and strengths and specific needs to support gaining new skills. Many professionals are involved in the evaluation. General medical tests as well as tests in areas such as neurology (the nervous system), psychology, psychiatry, special education, hearing, speech and vision, and physical therapy are part of the evaluation. A clinician, often a pediatrician or a child and adolescent psychiatrist, coordinates these tests.
When the evaluation is done, the evaluation team along with the family and the school develop a comprehensive treatment and education plan. When a child has ID, the goal is to help the child stay with the family and take part in community life.
Early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in children with ID leads to early treatment. Medications can also be helpful as one part of overall treatment and management of children with ID. Psychotherapy and occupational therapy can also be helpful in managing the child's emotions and behaviors.
Working with a child and adolescent psychiatrist over the course of childhood can help the family in setting appropriate expectations, limits, opportunities to succeed, and other measures which will help their child with ID handle the stresses of growing up. There is hope; each child is different and may reach goals not felt possible when the diagnosis of ID was made.