Mild Intellectual Disabilities

An Information Guide for Educators

What is a Mild Intellectual Disability (MID)?

People have different abilities and develop at different rates. Some people find learning new skills or information difficult. This could be because they have an intellectual disability. About two to three per cent of the population have an intellectual disability.

A person has an intellectual disability if they have both the following before they are 18 years of age:

  • An IQ below 70 (average IQ is 100)
  • Significant difficulty with daily living skills, communicating and taking part in activities with others.

Characteristics of MID from the Ministry of Education

MID is a learning disorder characterized by;

  • an ability to profit academically within a general education class with considerable curriculum modification and support services
  • an inability to profit academically within a regular class because of slow intellectual development;
  • a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.

Many factors associated with MID correlate with learning difficulties.

Mild Intellectual Disability (MID)

How to Support Students with MID

Students with MIDs benefit from being part of a general education class of students their own age. However, as the curriculum increases in difficulty, these students may experience a high failure rate or intense frustration. Appropriate program interventions should be implemented as soon as the student is identified as having a MID.

Strategies & Suggestions:

  • provide a supportive and encouraging learning environment
  • model a climate of acceptance and inclusion within the classroom
  • minimize the number of transitions in a day
  • provide an appropriate and deliberate seating arrangement
  • help the student learn and practice social situations
  • establish and maintain consistent classroom rules and routines
  • teach the student time management strategies
  • simultaneously give the student instructions orally and visually
  • use real-life experiences as learning opportunities
  • provide assistive technology
  • offer incentives and rewards for effort and good work
  • sequence the steps in the task at hand (i.e. 'first, next, last')
  • provide opportunities to work in partners and cooperative groups
  • speak at a slower rate during instructional time
  • give the student appropriate 'wait time' to answer orally
  • provide extended time for assignments
  • repeat directions
  • use real-life situations in numeracy and literacy lessons
  • provide assessment accommodation using methods that reflect the student's strengths
  • And many more...

Outcomes for Students with MID

Generally speaking, students and adults with MID will be able to;

  • participate in and contribute to their families and communities,
  • maintain important relationships in their life,
  • work in either an open or a supported environment,
  • may live and travel independently with assistance in monetary and organizational planning,
  • may marry and raise children with the support of a network of friends, family and services,
  • may learn to read and write fluently.
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For More Information...

Educators can visit the Ministry of Education's website at

Flyer by Keely Brown

Information from: The Ontario Curriculum Planner: Special Education Companion, © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2002