Linking the concepts of intellectual disability and spiritual development creates a challenging mixture of sociological and theological issues. Formal definitions of the concepts can be less than conclusive but it remains a fundamental issue to consider if there may be some minimal level of intellectual competence below which it is not feasible to anticipate a spiritual awareness. This issue is particularly challenging in the context of those with a profound level of intellectual disability. The acknowledgement of an inner spiritual state, which some call soul, is pivotal to addressing this challenge. It is then proposed that through reference to the language of symbols, to the openness of a child-like mindset, and to the influence of close personal relationships spiritual awareness my be stimulated and developed.

Author(s): Graeme Watts

Journal: Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Date: 2011

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Pages: 238-245

DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2011.617731

Databased: Yes

Disabilities: Intellectual Disability

Categories: Clergy/Theology, Individuals with disabilities