What is an intellectual disability?

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An intellectual disability (also commonly referred to as a developmental disability among other terms) is, simply stated, a disability that significantly affects one’s ability to learn and use information. It is a disability that is present during childhood and continues throughout one’s life. A person who has an intellectual disability is capable of participating effectively in all aspects of daily life, but sometimes requires more assistance than others in learning a task, adapting to changes in tasks and routines, and addressing the many barriers to participation that result from the complexity of our society. Examples of an intellectual disability might include someone who has Down Syndrome, Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or another label, however, there are people with an intellectual disability may not have a medical diagnosis.

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