“Know-It-All”: Challenges of More Verbally Capable People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter K post. I really have no idea where this is headed. I seem to struggle with the letter K each year. Today, after some thought and looking through my various books on developmental disabilities, I decided on “know-it-all”. This was in an A-Z guide on autism, not intellectual disability.

Indeed, individuals with an intellectual disability don’t usually look like “know-it-alls”. This is more like the stereotypical description of an Asperger’s style autistic. However, what I want to talk about today is the risk of overestimating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities based on their verbal abilities.

An example I once heard about was of a young woman assessed as having a moderate intellectual disability. When she met new people, she’d say: “Oh, I don’t know that person, let me go up to them and introduce myself.” This language is quite advanced. However, as it turned out, it was all script-based and she really had a severe intellectual disability. Due to her intellectual disability not being recognized enough, she was chronically overloaded, which led to challenging behavior.

Another example, I read about when researching communication issues for my letter C post. A person who could read a pharmaceutical handbook, refused a certain medication because it could cause nausea. When his doctor inquired whether the person knew what nausea felt like, it turned out he had no idea.

I, for one, am thought of as quite the know-it-all too. Indeed, though I do have an at least average verbal IQ, I get chronically overestimated due to the fact that I can talk up a storm.

Unfortunately, I for one do overestimate my own understanding too. This can be quite hard, because people often ask me to inquire rather than assume, but when I don’t know that I’m making assumptions, it’s hard to decide to inquire about them instead.

3 thoughts on ““Know-It-All”: Challenges of More Verbally Capable People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities #AtoZChallenge

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