Cause & Effects

In many cases the reasons for a person's intellectual disability are not known, or cannot be determined.

Some of the most common, known causes are:

  • Genetic conditions (such as Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome and Rhett syndrome)
  • Problems during pregnancy
  • Problems experienced at birth (for example, a lack of oxygen)
  • Health problems (such as whooping cough, measles or meningitis)
  • Environmental factors

In the same way there are a range of reasons for intellectual disability, there are also many different types of intellectual disability and different disabilities will impact a person's involvement in study or work in different ways.

Even if people live with the same intellectual disability, they will not experience disability in the same way. It is important to remember that every person living with intellectual disability is an individual and will have their own specific experiences and needs.