An intellectual disability is usually a condition that is present from birth. It is sometimes called a “mental handicap” or a “developmental disability”. An intellectual disability is not the same as a mental illness, which is a disease or disorder that develops after birth.
The following is some basic information about people with intellectual disabilities:
- People with intellectual disabilities are very capable of learning many skills, including employability skills. Many young people with intellectual disabilities now receive their education in regular classrooms with other students their own age.
- To varying degrees, people with intellectual disabilities have difficulties with learning or conceptualizing. People can have difficulties with reading, writing, doing mathematical calculations, and understanding information. People with intellectual disabilities often learn things in different ways or take a longer time to learn how to do things.
- Given the proper training and accommodations, people with intellectual disabilities can learn how to work at a variety of jobs. People can also learn to work quite independently, although they still may need help from time to time from co-workers, supervisors, or others.