People with intellectual disabilities develop at a below average rate and experience difficulty in learning and social adjustment. The regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provide the following technical definition for intellectual disabilities “means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a child's educational performance."
General intellectual functioning is typically measured by an intelligence test. Persons with intellectual disabilities usually score 70 or below on such tests.
Intellectual disabilities are not diseases, nor should they be confused with mental illness. Children with intellectual disabilities become adults; they do learn slowly and with difficulty. Some studies suggest that approximately 1 percent of the general population has intellectual disabilities—when both intelligence and adaptive behavior measures are used.*
Many authorities agree that people with intellectual disabilities develop in the same way as people without intellectual disabilities just at a slower rate. Others suggest that persons with intellectual disabilities have difficulties in particular areas of basic thinking and learning, such as attention, perception or memory. Depending on the extent of the impairment—mild, moderate, severe, or profound—individuals with intellectual disabilities develop differently in academic, social and vocational skills.
Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Center
ADD Warehouse: Leading Resource for the understanding and treatment of all developmental disorders
Knowledge Path: Children with Special Health Care Needs
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities: The largest website on learning disability/difficulty in the UK
Council for Exceptional Children
Family Village: A global community of disability-related resources
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
Exceptional Parent Magazine
Indiana Institute on Disability and Community
Max Brewer was diagnosed with a mild form of autism when he was 3. His older brother, Arthur, also has autism and completed the Marcus Autism Center Early Intervention Program. “We had seen such great progress with Arthur, so we knew that we needed to start Max in the program, too,” Max’s mother, Therese, said.
Marcus Autism Center is a subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
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