Analyzing a child’s previous and current environment can give professions an understanding if the child has any environmental impacts that can contribute to having an intellectual disability. A qualitative analysis for this nature is also important for those who are already diagnosed as a way to see if the chosen services are beneficial for everyone involved. As stated in chapter 1, only 20% of intellectual disabilities are caused by biomedical factors. For the remaining 80%, the actual cause is uncertain. There has been a speculation for the remaining to be caused by the environment because the incidence for intellectual disabilities is higher for people with low socio-economic backgrounds (Drew & Hardman, 2007). The high percentage of environmental speculations can make it seem clear to people that the probability of someone becoming diagnosed with intellectual disabilities that do not have visible genetic defects, is very possible. Therefore, targeting a child in this situation as having an intellectual disability from the influences of poverty is normal. However, taking cultural differences into account before an assessment is highly important.
Before establishing an assessment, professionals need to consider questions like, “How does culture and history affect an English learner’s development” and “how does a family’s legal status or reason for immigration affect a child’s success in school” (Drew & Hardman, 2007). When a professional takes cultural differences into account before an assessment, he or she demonstrates that an environmental analysis is only important when done with quality. With an analysis of this kind, diverse students will not be bothered with the label of having an intellectual disability but to gain help to develop their skills. While working at an emergency homeless shelter with children, I have observed social workers help women cope with the anxiety of becoming pregnant within their lifestyle of substance abuse. The social workers suggest Planned Parenthood for free prenatal assessments and/or genetic screening to check on the status of the fetus. If Planned Parenthood did not recognize the importance for free environmental analysis’s, these women would not have access to good healthcare and run a higher risk of a child developing with intellectual disabilities.
Prenatal assessments can give these women more clarity before making the decision of having an abortion or raising the child. The current environment of a child with intellectual disabilities needs to be planned according to their individual emotional and educational preferences. The framework for diagnosis, classification and planning builds on the multiple dimensions of definition, employs the varying assessment protocols appropriate for the person, and plans the supports in terms of intensity and context in which the individual lives (Drew & Hardman, 2007).
Without an environmental analysis that reflects the needs of the child, all areas of personal and educational development will be at risk. I believe that if professionals did not perform and environmental analysis, only assumptions would be taken. Professionals would be thinking, “This child is deemed to have an intellectual disability” and “the environment of this child with an intellectual disability will work for him because it worked well with many other children”. In that case, the person making the assumption would not be considered as a professional. While writing about children, I would like to ask everyone if and why an environmental analysis is important to be re assessed when an individual with a learning disability enters a new age range (example, child to teenager)?