Intellectual Disability (ID) Diagnosis

Intellectual disability (ID), once called mental retardation, is related to below-average intelligence and deficit of daily living skills, especially learning and self-care. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), three requirements should be followed for a diagnosis of ID, including considerable limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior and their clear manifestations in adolescence or childhood (“What is intellectual disability?” n.d.). In particular, intellectual functioning implies mental abilities such as learning, judgment, and problem-solving, while adaptive behavior refers to communication ability and independent living.

A doctor can evaluate intellectual functioning via standardized testing in an exam, using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Overall, individuals with ID have an IQ ranging from 55 to 69, but clinical caution may be needed for particular persons possessing slightly higher IQ but severe adaptive dysfunction (Feldman, 2019). Adaptive functioning can be determined by standardized measures with the individual in the main three areas, including conceptual, social, and practical skills.

In this regard, disability inclusion assumes understanding the correlation between people’s lifestyles and their participation in society and ensuring the equal involvement of everybody in all life aspects to the best of their abilities (“Intentional inclusion,” n.d.). Social inclusion is useful for enhancing the health of people with ID and the whole society. Individuals with ID have the opportunity to develop their mental and interpersonal skills through engagement in the planning, implementation, and decision-making processes.

The intellectually gifted persons who have IQ scores higher than 130 differ from those with average intelligence. Such people excel in their skills in almost every domain, and they are often regarded as the most communicative, healthy, well-adjusted, appreciated individuals. In this respect, the special education programs were developed for the intellectually gifted to create a conducive environment that facilitates their performance. On the one hand, the programs can improve their self-esteem, provide the necessary academic challenge, and help students focus on the subjects of interest, which may ultimately result in higher student achievement levels. Nevertheless, such programs can also place children in an uncomfortable atmosphere detached from their familiar environment and put unreasonable expectations on the student. Besides, they do not encompass all possible forms of intelligence and promote disparities in the community.


Feldman, R. S. (2019). Essentials of understanding psychology (13th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Intentional inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. (n.d.). Special Olympics. 2020, Web.

What is intellectual disability? (n.d.). American Psychiatric Association. 2020, Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Intellectual Disability (ID) Diagnosis." September 12, 2023.