Prolonged infancy and attachment security: Comparative case analysis of children with intellectual disability from India


  • Leemamol Mathew


People with intellectual disability possess poor relationship skills and lack attachment relationships. Research has shown that this low relationship building ability is evident right from birth in the interactions with the mother. The present study addresses these two arguments through case study method. 11 children with intellectual disability from a special school at Mangalore, South India were the participants. With the purpose of developing close relationship, the researcher interacted with the participants for an academic year (10 months). The interactions resulted in close relationships for both. Interviews were conducted with mothers, and other significant people to find out the relationship histories. The analyses of the  data revealed that children with intellectual disability are able to develop attachment relationship. The prolonged infancy of children with intellectual disability from developmental delays provides more space for infantmother interaction. The relationship orientation and the inheritance right in Indian culture fostered the attachment relationship during prolonged infancy stage for the participants under study. The relationship building ability of children with intellectual disability is as par as any other normal  developing individual, provided with an opportunity for sensitive interaction.

Author Biography

Leemamol Mathew, Asian Centre for Interpersonal Relationship Research (ACIRR)
Leemamol Mathew is Director of Asian Centre for Interpersonal Relationship Research (ACIRR) at
the Institute for Social Engineering, India. She is also a postdoctoral fellow of Indian Council of
Social Science Research (ICSSR) at IRMA, Anand. Her key research interest is in the area of
interpersonal relationships.