A psychological assessment is a fundamental aspect in measuring intellectual disabilities (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Information provided from partaking in an assessment includes severity of the disability and an understanding of the individual’s limitations as a result of the disability (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Knowledge of these elements, as explained by Drew and Hardman, aid in determining the necessary supports required by the individual to help them cope with the disability. It is important that the assessment measures both cognitive and adaptive aspects of an individual’s functioning because, “Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills” (Drew & Hardman, 2007, p. 19). Once an assessment of these areas has been completed an individual may be identified as having an intellectual disability.
Information discovered by the assessment may lead parents to feel a sense of relief knowing the reason behind their child’s struggles (Lerner & Johns, 2012). With an identification the information collected from the assessment helps professionals provide better care and support to the child and their family (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Identification also leads to increased legal rights of a child for special education and access to essential supports and services (Lerner & Johns, 2012). Unfortunately, the results for an assessment may not be completely accurate, nor fully capture the child’s true performance capabilities (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Also, a diagnosis entails a label and Lerner and Johns (2012), explain that such labels can harmful for children. This diagnostic label remains with a child throughout their life and can create a negative environment with teasing and other issues with others individuals and society (Lerner & Johns, 2012). A self-fulfilling prophecy, “where one becomes what they are labeled,” can accompany a label, hindering the development and performance of the child (Drew & Hardman, 2007, p. 50). Clearly psychological assessments involve both pros and cons.
Diagnosing a child as intellectually disabled means that this child will face many challenges throughout their life, as they are developing differently and have unique strengths and weaknesses (Drew & Hardman, 2007). These different abilities require different service and supports to ensure the child develops to their full potential, but despite this diagnosis an individual’s future is bright for they remain capable human beings (Hallahan, Kauffman, McIntyre & Mykota, 2010).
The origin of Mary’s difficulties may never be fully understood, as a large majority of causes for intellectual disability are unable to be determined (Drew & Hardman, 2007). Humans are vulnerable to disruptions in development at a variety of stages in life and this disturbance can cause a variety of disorders...