Understanding Intellectual Disability

Everyone has different abilities and develop at different rates, but some people find learning new skills or information difficult; this may be because they are living with intellectual disability.

A person is diagnosed as having intellectual disability if they have both of the following before they are 18 years of age:

  • An intelligence quotient (IQ) of approximately 70 or less, as measured on a standardised intellectual assessment test
  • Significant difficulty with skills needed for daily living, including communication, taking part in activities with others and self-care

Although everyone is unique and has their own areas of ability and difficulty, there are some areas that many people living with intellectual have difficulty with, including:

  • Understanding abstract concepts
  • Learning and processing information
  • Decoding social cues and the subtleties of interpersonal interactions
  • Manipulating ideas and concepts needed for planning and organisiation

Intellectual disability is not the same as mental health.