Developmental, Intellectual,

and Learning Disabilities

Definition of a Intellectual Disability

An intellectual disability is characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

How to determine a intellectual disability?

An IQ test of 70-75 can indicate an intellectual disability. Other additional considerations may be community environment, linguistic diversity, and cultural differences in the way people move and behave.

Significant limitations

Significant limitations in intellectual functioning simply means intelligence or mental capacity for things like problem solving and the ability to reason and understand.


Significant limitations in adaptive behavior includes conceptual, practical, and social skills that have been learned in order to function in society.

Learning disabilities

A learning disability is a neurological condition that interferes with an individual’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Learning disabilities can affect one’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, reason, and also affect an individual’s attention, memory, coordination, social skills, and emotional maturity.

Specific Learning Disabilities

Auditory processing disorder, dysgraphia, language processing disorder, visual perception/visual motor deficit, dyscalculia, dyslexia, and non-verbal learning disabilities.


Related disorders are ADHD, dyspraxia, memory, and executive functioning.

Facts About Learning Disabilities

* Learning disabilities often run in families

* Learning disabilities often go undetected because they can't be seen and the characteristics vary so much

* Learning disabilities should not be confused with other types of disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.

Getting Help for Learning Disabilities

Learn to recognize the signs of a potential learning disability. Share any concerns with a child's teacher and ask them if they have observed anything in your child's performance. If they have then come up with strategies to meet the child's needs. The teacher can be helpful in arranging evaluations. A full physical evaluation by a doctor is beneficial to assess whether there are any health problems that might be interfering with learning, including hearing and vision problems.
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What is a Developmental Disability?

Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments. A developmental disability is manifested before a person reaches the age of 22 and constitutes a substantial disability to the affected individual. Examples of a developmental disability include downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism.
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What is Autism?

Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities. Children with autism have social, communication, and language problems. They may also have restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, such as flipping objects, echolalia, or excessive smelling or touching of objects. The severity of autism varies greatly for each individual.

Three Teaching Strategies

1. Provide multisensory experiences related to each book that they read, such as coloring pages, audio, movement, or tactile elements. Adding these elements will help the student understand and remember the story.


2. Provide a visual schedule of daily activities in the classroom to provide clear structure. Routine and structure are important for all children, but for those with disabilities, it is vital and provides a sense of safety.


3. Be repetitive. For example in learning sight/vocabulary words, spell the word, make the correct letter sounds, spell the word again as you write it out, say it again, hide the word and try to spell it without looking. The repetition will help the information sink in and make it easier to recall later.