Intellectual disability FAQs

Looking for information on intellectual disability? Here are some of our frequently asked questions.

What is intellectual disability?

An intellectual disability affects the way a person learns and can make it difficult for them to apply knowledge, understand ideas and solve problems. Intellectual disability is diverse, meaning it is unique to each person. 

Intellectual disability affects over half a million people in Australia Some people with intellectual disability need support to live everyday life. Most people who have an intellectual disability are born with it, but it can present anytime before a person turns 18 years old.

Intellectual disabilities used to be diagnosed with an IQ test and by assessing how a person copes with everyday tasks. Now doctors look at the self-care, mobility and communication support needs of the individual when making their assessment.

What causes intellectual disability?

A person is often born with an intellectual disability. Some people with an intellectual disability might also have Down syndrome, psychiatric disability or Fragile X syndrome. Other reasons also include

  • Brain injury
  • Premature birth
  • Childhood illnesses

Sometimes there is no reason for a person’s intellectual disability. 

What characteristics are typical to intellectual disability?

Everybody that has an intellectual disability is different. Some people might find it hard to: 

  • Learn new information
  • Understand ideas
  • Read and write 
  • Communicate with others
  • Hold eye contact
  • Solve problems
  • Manage emotions
  • Make friends

Some people with an intellectual disability find it hard to cope in new situations such as changing from school to life as an adult. During times like these they might need extra support, even when they live independently. 

Who can diagnose intellectual disability?

Testing for intellectual disability can only be organised by a paediatrician or psychologist but any health professional can recommend further testing to determine the cause of an intellectual disability. 

Can adults with intellectual disability live independently?

With the right support, many people with intellectual disabilities can lead active and independent adult lives living in the community while enjoying good relationships and employment. Organisations like Mambourin are dedicated to supporting people with intellectual disabilities to build practical life skills that will help them thrive.

We can support people with intellectual disabilities develop skills for independent living, such as: 

  • Personal care and self-care
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Communication skills
  • Healthy meal preparation
  • Meal planning and grocery shopping
  • Budgeting and home management
  • Goal setting
  • General skill development
  • Using transport 
  • Positive behaviour support

What support is available to people with intellectual disability?

People with an intellectual disability may be eligible for NDIS support. Mambourin’s NDIS team can help open up the NDIS for you and your family and assist you with:

  • Your NDIS questions, big and small
  • General NDIS planning support
  • An individual NDIS pre-planning session, just for you and your family
  • Our digital quoting system that offers tailored quotes for Mambourin services and supports
  • Plan review support

Where can I learn about social activities for people living with intellectual disability?

For people with intellectual disabilities, getting out and connecting with people in a safe environment is important for building social skills and confidence – while having fun, of course! 

Mambourin offers a range of social and interest choices that almost always take place in a group setting and are designed to accommodate a range of unique interests.

Our social and interest choices include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Various leisure options
  • Gym and fitness
  • Swimming and swim safety
  • Meditation and self-care
  • Performance and expressive arts
  • Hip-hop dancing and music production
  • Radio hosting and production
  • Choir and singing
  • Computers and digital tech
  • Movie making

What leisure and recreation choices are available for people living with intellectual disability?

Along with social and interest choices, Mambourin offers leisure and recreation choices for those who are interested in getting out and about.

Our wide range of leisure and recreation choices include:

  • Weekends At Mambourin (known as WAM!) – group social activities on the weekend
  • Flexi-choices – individual activities as and when you want them
  • Assisted holidays – ask us about assisted weekends away!

Weekend activities are varied to suit all tastes and you can choose which ones you’d like to join. Some of our more popular options include:

  •  Tenpin bowling
  •  Movies
  •  Melbourne and Werribee Zoos
  •  AFL matches
  •  Live music
  •  Dance parties
  •  Music therapy programs
  •  Car shows and racing
  •  Wrestling (local and international)
  •  Local markets and shows
  •  Museums and art galleries

What community programs are available for people living with intellectual disability?

Getting out into the community, either in a group or individual setting is great for developing interpersonal skills that build confidence and independence. Mambourin has a huge range of structured, group-based activities and individual outings to choose from that we like to call community choices.

Your community choices:

  • Cafés
  • Shopping trips
  • Community events
  • Nature walks
  • Bowling (lawn and ten pin)
  • BBQs and lunches
  • Day trips and sightseeing
  • Art exhibitions and museums
  • Movies and theatre
  • Clubbing and parties
  • Major events and concerts
  • Sports and recreation events

What employment opportunities are available for people living with intellectual disability?

Finding employment when you have a disability can feel challenging, and this is reflected by a higher unemployment rate for people with moderate or mild intellectual disabilities.

The good news is that with the right network and opportunities, many people with intellectual disabilities can find work in a variety of fields.

Speak to Mambourin about your employment goals and we will work to connect you to every opportunity to make them happen. We have a range of pathways to further training and offer on-the-job support when you need it.

Opportunities we can provide include:

  • Mambourin Business Solutions warehouse which offers work in packaging, assembly and logistics services from our award-winning Derrimut warehouse
  • Our professional gardening team servicing the western Melbourne and CBD regions
  • Our administrative team supporting the organisation with administration and front-of-house duties

Are there traineeships available for people living with intellectual disabilities?

For those with an intellectual disability aged 16 and over and still enrolled in school, a Mambourin Traineeship is a great pathway to further study or employment.

The best part? You get paid as you go!

The current traineeships we offer at Mambourin include:

  • Certificate II Warehousing Operations
  • Certificate III Warehousing Operations
  • Certificate II Horticulture

If you are a year 12 school leaver, and you’re not sure what you want to do after finishing school, or you feel like you need more training to get work-ready, our School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) program is for you. 

Mambourin’s SLES includes:

  • Job skills training
  • Personal health and wellbeing activities
  • Identifying interests and skills 
  • Travel education
  • Nationally accredited training 

Mambourin supports people living with a range of different disabilities and support needs.

If you’d like to discuss how we can support you, contact one of our friendly team members on 9731 9200 or email us at hello@mambourin.org

Get in touch

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