The new term “intellectual disabilities” is becoming widely used, but it is not widely understood. For example, does a person with a learning disability fall into this category, one that is strictly defined by government standards?
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in seven Americans has some type of learning disability. Yet those with learning disabilities seem to not fall into the category of intellectual disability unless their functioning level is below 70-75 and they have limitations in defined living functions. So does this term apply? I’ve searched, but find no reference. If you can interpret, please speak up.
I applaud the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation (appointed in 1966) for finding the new, less offensive term. The committee now has a new name: President’s Committee on Intellectual Disabilities, and they have removed some of the confusion about the category regarding mental illness. They are also heavily involved in upholding the rights of all people with intellectual disabilities in their efforts to be more independent and productive members of society.
Sitting next to you at a meeting of adults may be someone with dsgraphia or dyscalculia, only two of several processing functions that are considered learning disabilities. I was surprised to learn that technically ADHD often occurs with learning disabilities, but it is not the same.
I’m compiling a glossary of special needs terms for my web site. Man! It is not as easy as you might think.