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Multiplicy of handicaps

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Many individuals have co-existing morbities, compounding their difficulties:


  • defects of vision and hearing
  • cerebral palsy
  • difficulty with speech and communication


  • occurs in 30% of children with severe intellectual developmental disorders
  • seizures may be poorly controlled, producing disturbed behaviour or additional brain damage
  • anticonvulsant medication may produce side-effects or toxic effects
  • social rejection is often increased

Psychiatric disorder:

  • occurs in 30% of children with intellectual developmental disorders, threefold higher than the general population
  • the incidence of psychiatric disorder increases with the degree of intellectual retardation
  • the distribution of disorder (e.g. emotional, antisocial, developmental) is the same in children of average intelligence

The following conditions are more common in patients with intellectual developmental disorders:

  • autism
  • hyperkinetic syndrome
  • stereotyped movements
  • pica

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