Is an Intellectual Disability?
disability is a disability that
occurs before age 18. People with this disability experience
limitations in two main areas: 1) intellectual functioning and 2)
behavior. These limitations are expressed in the person’s conceptual,
and practical everyday living skills. A number of people with
disability are mildly affected, making the disability difficult to
without visual cues. Intellectual disability is diagnosed through the
standardized tests of intelligence and adaptive behavior. Individuals
intellectual disabilities who are provided appropriate personalized
over a sustained period generally have improved life outcomes (AAIDD,
fact, many adults with intellectual disabilities can live independent,
productive lives in the community with support from family, friends and
agencies like The Arc.
Is the Definition of Developmental Disabilities (DD)?
Developmental Disabilities Act (Pub. L. 106-402), the term
disability means a severe, chronic disability that:
attributable to a
mental or physical impairment or a combination of those impairments;
individual reaches age 22;
likely to continue
functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major
activity: (i) self care, (ii) receptive and expressive language, (iii)
learning, (iv) mobility, (v) self-direction, (vi) capacity for
and (vii) economic self-sufficiency; and
individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special,
or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of
are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and
the age of ten,
an infant or child with developmental delays may be considered to have
intellectual or developmental disability if his or her disabilities are
to meet the above criteria without intervention.
Does the DD Definition Compare with the AAIDD Definition of
are in the age of onset, the severity of limitations, and the fact that
developmental disability definition does not refer to an IQ
individuals with intellectual disability will also meet the definition
developmental disability. However, it is estimated that at least half
individuals with intellectual disability will not meet the functional
requirement in the DD definition. The DD definition requires
functional limitations in three or more areas of major life activity.
intellectual disability definition requires significant limitations in
of adaptive behavior.
with developmental disabilities include
individuals with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delay, autism
autism spectrum disorders, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (or FASD) or
hundreds of specific syndromes and neurological conditions that can
impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior
that of a person with intellectual disabilities.
Why Do Some People Still Use the Term “Mental
term “mental retardation” is
an out-dated term that may offer special protections in some states,
with the passage of Rosa’s Law in 2010, many states have replaced all
terminology from mental retardation to intellectual disability.
still use the term “mental retardation” to be eligible for some
services in a
few states, in no case does having the label guarantee that supports
general public, including
families, individuals, funders, administrators, and public policymakers
local, state and federal levels, are becoming aware of how offensive
is and are actively working to make sure the public at large now use
preferred term of intellectual or developmental disability.
Arc of the United States http://www.thearc.org
Congress Public Law 402 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-106publ402/html/PLAW-106publ402.htm
the information and
definitions noted above are subject to change as public laws are
diagnostic and evaluative methods change, and contemporary terminology
current and up-to-date
information, we suggest that you consult current text or web references
visit our Resources