Young adults, born to population-representative mothers with intellectual disability (ID), were targeted for psychosocial/life event follow-up.
The whole group originally comprised 42 individuals but 3 had died and 1 had moved abroad. The remaining 38 were approached and 10 consented to participate in an interview study. However, of the remaining 28, it was not possible to establish contact with 21 who were instead searched for in various official registers.
Most (n = 18) individuals in the study group had been in contact with different authorities and clinics. Of the 21 individuals, 10 had contact with social services since childhood and 4 of these had been taken into care (foster family) and 6 had had contact families during childhood. One individual had been taken into a treatment centre and one grew up mainly with the father. Altogether 12 (57%) of 21 individuals did not grow up full-time with their biological mother. Twelve (57%) had major neurodevelopmental/neuropsychiatric conditions, including five with ID and seven with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Four individuals were registered within the Prison and Probation Service due to various types of crimes.
Individuals born to mothers with ID in our study group were at high risk of adverse experiences and negative outcomes, such as increased childhood mortality, a relatively large proportion of children taken into care, high rates of ID and ADHD in the children and of criminality in young adulthood. Taken together with the results obtained in an in-depth interview study of those in the originally targeted sample with whom it was possible to obtain contact, the present findings suggest that it will be important to provide early support and longitudinal developmental follow-up in groups of children growing up with a mother with ID. Children in this situation appear to be at a number of risks, probably related both to hereditary factors and to social disadvantage.