Recognition and diagnosis in the intellectually impaired in mental health care
background Recognition of intellectual abilities of a patient is essential for good treatment. However, this may be hard to achieve, even by experienced professionals.
aim To educate professionals how to detect and diagnose intellectual impairment accompanied by an approximate knowledge on methods and pitfalls in establishing psychiatric diagnoses.
method Several valid instruments for the screening of intellectual impairment in the Netherlands are described in conjunction with adjoining steps in the diagnostic process.
results To determine mild intellectual disability or borderline intellectual functioning by screening and testing intelligence and adaptive functioning, and by establishing an integrative diagnosis by including emotional as well as social level of functioning. Some pitfalls in the diagnostic process are discussed.
conclusion Clinicians must be aware which tools to use to determine broad functioning of the patient and which further steps are necessary for a good diagnosis.