Borderline Intellectual Functioning (BIF)

How to help a child who has been diagnosed with Borderline Intellectual Functioning (BIF)

Sonia Billadeau April 11, 2014
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img001My daughter is diagnosed with Borderline Intellectual Functioning(BIF) coupled with ADHD. For those of you who don’t know what Borderline Intellectual Functioning (BIF) is it is when a person has below average IQ- not low enough IQ to be mentally retarded but not high enough to be considered having an average or normal range IQ. Essentially the person hovers in the middle between mental retardation and normalcy. As for my child, she does not look or talk differently, but she cannot process information that requires more than one step easily and must be retaught over and over again before she actually learns the information. She would be classified as a “slow learner.”  When my daughter was adopted, I was told that she was diagnosed with this disability; however, there wasn’t much information out there in reference to the ways that she can be helped. In fact, if she had not been diagnosed with ADHD, she would not even qualify for special services such as an IEP at school.

It can be very frustrating trying to help a child BIF because there is very little information available about it. My daughter is only 11 years old, so I have not discussed her disability with her. She has asked me why she has teachers helping her with her work because she believes that she is capable of doing it on her own. However she does not realize that she lacks the ability at this point to display abstract thinking. She is very literal and often times she does not understand what is being said to her or what she is reading if it is not direct. While she struggles with Borderline Intellectual Functioning (BIF) she also struggles with impulsiveness and has a short attention span. So on one hand she has a hard time understanding new material and then on the other hand she lacks the focus to sit long enough for it to sink in.

She truly has been served a double whammy, and we are all learning ways to cope with her ability and disabilities. What little can be found about BIF does not give us much encouragement or hope. I guess the information is just literal just like they are. However these people and children are not dumb or lazy. They have to work really hard to do the tasks that are so trivial and simple to others. My daughter can remember things verbatim, which will prove to be quite a help when having to do test that requires recall of information. I guess what I am saying is we all have strengths and weaknesses, so do they. On the surface it appears that they have more weaknesses than strengths, but you must use the abilities that they do have to their advantage. We must teach them to compensate for their weaknesses without making them feel different. After all, we do it all the time, right? If we don’t know a song, we Google the words. If you don’t have a car, you catch the bus. If you can’t cook, you buy box dinners.

Don’t let the child give up, and don’t you give up on your child. Their IQ may not be the highest but find their hidden traits and COMPENSATE!

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Sonia Billadeau


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