Curated and updated for the community by APA
Intellectual disability involves problems with general mental abilities that affect functioning in two areas:
Intellectual disability affects about one percent of the population, and of those about 85 percent have mild intellectual disability.
See definition, symptoms, & treatment
Peer support refers to people with the same types of problems helping each other. The concept of peer support has been used for many years among people with addictions, for example in Alcoholic Anonymous where people with “lived experience” help others to recover. The use of peer support with people with mental illness is more recent, particularly peer support in a professional capacity as part of the mental health care team.
Since rapid changes and uncertainty can be stressful for anyone regardless of political persuasion, it’s important to remain aware of our stress levels and proactively manage them.
You may be familiar with online access to your medical records and possibly to your doctor’s notes. More than 12 million Americans now have online access to their health care provider’s clinical notes. This access is referred to as OpenNotes.
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
ARC for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
National Down Syndrome Society
I have heard the terms intellectual disability and developmental disability. Are they the same?
These terms are not the same, though there is some overlap. Developmental disability is a broad category that includes intellectual disability (ID) as well as autism spectrum disorder and other developmental diagnoses. Intellectual disability refers to people whose cognitive ability and adaptive functioning are significantly below average. People with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties with social interaction and impairments in communication; many also have intellectual disability. Read More
At what age can a child be evaluated for intellectual disability?
Parents and caretakers are often the first to notice delays in a child’s development.
If you’re concerned about the development of your infant or toddler, or you suspect your child has a disability, talk with your child’s pediatrician. You may also contact your local early Intervention program directly (see links below) and ask to have your child evaluated. Early intervention is a national system of services that helps babies and toddlers (birth to 3 years) with developmental delays or disabilities. Evaluation is provided free of charge.
See contact information for state early intervention programs. Learn more about early intervention from the Center for Parent Information and Resources. Read More
What is involved in diagnosing intellectual disability?
Intellectual disability involves problems in both intellectual and adaptive functioning.
Intellectual functioning is assessed with an exam by a doctor and through standardized testing. While a specific full-scale IQ test score is no longer required for diagnosis, standardized testing is used as part of diagnosing intellectual disability. A full scale IQ score of around 70 to 75 indicates a significant limitation in intellectual functioning. However, the IQ score must be considered in relation to the bigger picture of the person’s general mental abilities. Also, specific areas of intellectual functioning (identified in IQ subtest scores) can vary a great deal. So the full scale IQ score may not accurately reflect overall intellectual functioning.
Adaptive functioning refers to a child’s abilities with common skills needed for everyday life compared to other children the same age. Three areas of adaptive functioning are considered: conceptual (such as language and academic skills); social (such as communication skills and the ability to follow rules); and practical (such as personal care and other daily life skills). Adaptive functioning is assessed through standardized measures (questionnaires/checklists) with the individual and through interviews with family members, teachers and caregivers. Read More
About the Expert:
Mark J. Hauser, M.D. Psychiatrist practicing in the Greater Boston Area President, On-Site Psychiatric Services, Inc.
Jordan, 32, loves his work. He lives with and assists his aging grandparents. He is able to help them with cooking, cleaning, and exercising daily. Jordan has been very successful at helping his grandparents live independently by maintaining the basic chores of their home and keeping a structured environment for them. He describes himself as "a good helper." Read More
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FEB 14, 2017
Dorothy Hassan learned of the struggles of people with mental disabilities during her years on the board of Langley Residential Support Services, and honored their intelligence and determination in her novel, The Blitz Business. “I was made very aware of the importance of allowing people with intellectual disabilities to develop their full potential so they can, in fact, live rich, happy lives.”
FEB 7, 2017
Study finds people with intellectual disability twice as likely to die from a preventable cause. Life expectancy 26 years shorter for people with an intellectual disability. Advocates calls for state and federal governments to provide more funding and training to address health inequalities for people with an intellectual disability.
JAN 25, 2017
Pressure is mounting for the U.S. organ donation network to tackle one of the thorniest ethical questions it's ever faced -- whether a person with intellectual disabilities should be denied access to a transplant. A bipartisan group of 30 legislators from the U.S. Congress petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services in October to "issue guidance on organ transplant discrimination with regards to persons with disabilities," according to a new opinion piece in the Jan. 26 New England Journal of Medicine.
Archived Webinar Series – American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The Arc: for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
US Department of Education - Center for Parent Information and Resources – Intellectual Disability
Physician Review By:
Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.