Signs and Symptoms
An intellectual disability is characterised by below average intellectual function. People with this condition may also experience physical, behavioural and emotional difficulties, ranging from mild to severe.
This includes difficulties with;
» Learning and processing information
» Communicating, reading or writing
» Daily living tasks, including self-care, independent living, and managing personal affairs
» Social skills, self-expression and self-direction
Intellectual disabilities are most commonly present from birth due to chromosomal conditions, genetics or damage to the brain during pregnancy. Conditions include;
Fragile X Syndrome - genetic condition caused by alterations in the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome.
Down Syndrome - genetic chromosomal condition that occurs at conception.
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome- a condition caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy.
Developmental Delay - a childhood delay in physical, emotional and social skills and can be short or long-term.
For additional resources and support, visit Down Syndrome Australia
Affect on Daily Life at Work
» Your employee may have difficulty learning new tasks, solving problems, working independently and grasping complex concepts
» They may struggle with communicating, particularly when explaining tasks they don’t understand.
» They may face difficulty concentrating, completing tasks or multi-tasking
» They may experience mood swings or be easily upset
» Communicate with your employee or their carer so you understand their capacity at work
» Consider a buddy system to provide learning support
» Implement flexible hours, workloads and deadlines with extra time for tasks
» Communicate tasks and training as small steps, one at a time. Give time frames for each step’s completion
» Create a plan for how best to delegate tasks.
» Consider using tools such as apps, visual prompts, calendars, alarms, checklists with large font and always check they understand instructions
Approximately 1 in 1100
Australians have Downs
Telethon Institute for
Child Health Research
Hayley’s learning impairment doesn’t stop her from setting and achieving her goals. She is currently studying a Certificate III in business administation through Castle and is employed part-time with Hunter Water as an administation assistant.
She is an asset to the Hunter Water team, helping around the office by scanning archived files, opening mail and getting the daily paper. During the closure of the Hunter Water office during COVID-19, Hayley continued her role with the company, scanning files from home in her office. She says her goal is to learn how to answer the phones and work in reception. We have no doubt with her drive and dedication to learning, she will achieve this.