Defining Intellectual Disability

Defining Intellectual Disability

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) was put into place in order to service those with disabilities and their families through community services. The DD Act is an umbrella that covers a number of different types of developmental disabilities, one being intellectual disabilities. In order to understand the experiences and needs of people with intellectual disabilities, we must first define the term.

There are three main aspects that define intellectual disabilities: limited intellectual functioning, limited adaptive behavior, and the age of onset.

Intellectual Functioning

Intellectual functioning, or intelligence, refers to a person’s mental capacity — in other words, it encompasses a person’s ability to learn, reason, and problem-solve. The most common way to measure intellectual functioning is the Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) test. The maximum I.Q. score for adults is 161, and 162 for those under 18 years old. Typically, a score below 70 can indicate a limitation in intellectual functioning.

Adaptive Behavior

Adaptive behavior consists of social, practical, and conceptual skills. Conceptual skills are skills that deal with time, money, language and literacy. Social skills is a category of abilities that deal with self-esteem, social responsibility, and interpersonal skills. Lastly, practical skills deal with daily activities like transportation, hygiene, safety, and other daily responsibilities.

Age of Onset

Intellectual disabilities is a category of disabilities under the larger umbrella of developmental disabilities. Intellectual disabilities occur during the developmental stage of life. In the United States, the developmental stage lasts until age 18.

Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities Has More Information

The Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities (ACDD) aims to advocate for Alabamians with developmental disabilities and to support their independence, inclusion, and productivity. ACDD empowers those with developmental disabilities and their families to help change legislation by offering information on bills of interest and bill tracking. In addition to current grants that benefit people with developmental disabilities, the Council includes an application on its website for grant proposal requests. Grant proposals can be about volunteer activities, employment opportunities, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about developmental disabilities or the resources that we offer, the Alabama Council of Developmental Disabilities is here to help. Contact us today!