By Tricitynews Reporter
Chandigarh 17th November:- The Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh is organizing a one day CME-cum-Workshop for psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and educators on ‘Intellectual Disability: Assessment and Management’ on 18th November, 2016. The academic program shall be held in the Lecture Theatre Complex of PGI, Chandigarh. Prof. Ajit Avasthi, Head, Department of Psychiatry is the Organizing Chairperson and Prof. Ritu Nehra is the Organizing Secretary of this program.
Intellectual disability or mental retardation affects 2-3% of people in the general population. It is a disorder of the development of the brain that results in sub-optimal intellectual functioning, causing these individuals to lag behind their peers. Beyond academics, it affects all the spheres of an individual’s life, such as self care, communication, social relations and participation, occupation and independent living. These individuals are slow to learn, and they make progress at a slower rate and hence, face difficulties across their lifespan beginning from early childhood. Intellectual disability is caused by a myriad of factors including genetic, environmental toxins, maternal infections, maternal under-nutrition, drug intake during pregnancy, birth injuries and asphyxia, neonatal infections and hypothyroidism. Children with milder severity of ID face academic difficulties and are often recognized by teachers. Those with moderate to severe ID often are recognized by the parents even before formal schooling begins. Also, these children and adults also often suffer from other co-morbid illnesses such as epilepsy.
Assessment of these individuals mandates a comprehensive evaluation including psychological testing and physical investigations as indicated. These children and adults need multi-disciplinary services including medical (psychiatrists and pediatricians/ physicians), psychological and behavioral, speech and occupational therapy, education and skills training, community services for rehabilitation. Medications are prescribed when indicated for co-morbidities.
At PGI, one third of the patients attending the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic have intellectual disability. Another 4 % of adults attending General Psychiatry services also suffer from ID. For these individuals, after a comprehensive evaluation, holistic management services are provided.
Department of Psychiatry, PGI runs weekly parent counseling and training group sessions, individual parent psycho education and training, child focused behavioral interventions for skill deficits, problem behaviors and for related difficulties. Disability assessment and certification needed for availing benefits of government schemes is undertaken. The Department also provides services for vocational guidance, and guidance to parents for accessing benefits and concessions that the families are entitled to.
Considering the far reaching impacts of ID, it is imperative that young mental health professionals and those working with these individuals hone their skills in recognizing and providing quality services to these individuals. Hence, this CME-cum-Workshop is intended to provide hands-on training to the young psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, educators in terms of identification and management. Such a capacity building exercise is expected to result in improved and informed care of children and adults suffering from I.D.