Aug. 1, 2017

Quick Chat: Gabrielle Wilcox

Moving into the adult world more difficult for children with intellectual disabilities
Gabrielle Wilcox

Wilcox discusses difficulties children with intellectual disabilities face.

The technical definition of a child diagnosed with an intellectual disorder is pretty straightforward.   

If someone earns a score of 70-75 or below along with lower adaptive functioning, they are likely to struggle with the transition to adulthood. Three areas included in adaptive functioning, among others are:

  • Functional academic: The child will struggle with learning things like reading and writing, as well as simple concepts used in everyday life such as telling time, counting money, and
  • Social skills: Understanding social rules and following them is a challenge; knowing how to interact with others, knowing what the “rules of life” are and how to follow them can prove to be difficult;
  • Activities of Daily Living: As that child grows older, day-to-day activities--like taking care of oneself, obtaining and holding a job, driving or taking transit, and generally following routines—may prove impossible, or, at the very least, difficult to carry out.

According to Gabrielle Wilcox, one of the biggest obstacles faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families is finding supports for these children as they are about to become adults.

Wilcox, who is an assistant professor in the Werklund School of Education and the Director of the Integrated Services in Education initiative, says that the transition from youth to young adult is often thwarted by the lack of established practices to help the intellectually disabled find their way in what can be a very daunting world.