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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Inclusive Technology: Intellectual Disability

The term 'intellectual disability' refers to a group of conditions caused by various genetic disorders and infections. Intellectual disability is usually identified during childhood, and has an ongoing impact on an individual’s development. Intellectual disability can be defined as a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, learn new skills, and cope independently, including social functioning.

As with all disability groups, there are many types of intellectual disability, with varying degrees of severity. This includes considerable differences in the nature and extent of the intellectual impairments and functional limitations, the causes of the disability, and the personal background and social environment of the individual. Some people have genetic disorders that impact severely on their intellectual, social and other functional abilities. Others with mild intellectual impairment may develop adequate living skills and are able to lead relatively independent adult lives. Approximately 75 per cent of people with intellectual disability are only mildly affected, and 25 per cent are moderately, severely or profoundly affected.