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How 'Diagnostic Overshadowing' Endangers People With Intellectual Disabilities

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Imagine that you are a young adult with a developmental or intellectual disability. You are minimally verbal (but have been labeled nonverbal) yet you understand a lot more than people think you do.

You have been given an antipsychotic medication for a few months and have just started getting an increased dosage — part of your “plan.” Nobody explains the medication to you nor do they explain what adverse effects you may experience, especially with the increased dose.

You quickly experience the most frightening experience of your life — your tongue gets stuck in your mouth, you have trouble breathing, and your neck feels like it’s stuck in one position.

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