Intellectual disabilities can be mild, moderate, or severe. Someone’s personality, how they handle events, and other health care issues can affect how much support a person needs for daily living. Intellectual disability is thought to affect about 1 - 3% of the population. Of those affected, most have a mild intellectual disability.
There are many causes of intellectual disability, but doctors find a specific reason in only 25% of cases. The most common syndromes associated with intellectual disabilities are Autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Your child may have an intellectual disability if you notice any of the following:
- Lack of or slow development of motor skills (physical movement), language skills, and self-help skills (like getting dressed), especially when compared to peers
- Failure to grow intellectually or continued infant-like behavior
- Lack of curiosity
- Problems keeping up in school
- Failure to adapt (adjust to new situations)
- Difficulty understanding and following social rules
To measure a child’s adaptive behaviors, a specialist will observe the child’s skills and compare them to other children of the same age. They may observe how well the child can feed or dress himself or herself; how well the child is able to communicate with and understand others; and how the child interacts with family, friends, and other children of the same age.