intellectual disability

noun

Definition of intellectual disability

: mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below that is accompanied by significant limitations in social, practical, and conceptual skills (as in interpersonal communication, reasoning, or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning and that has an onset before age 18

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

… Rosa's Law, which changed references in federal law from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.— Victor R. Martinez

Examples of intellectual disability in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The complications of her birth also led to an intellectual disability that limited her ability to speak and interact. Steven Kurutz, New York Times, "Angela Russell Dies at 65; She Grew Up With a Love of Song," 4 Sep. 2020 The gregarious 18-year-old has an intellectual disability and reads and performs math below grade level. Washington Post, "Live updates: Trump says he may act alone if Congress can’t reach deal on new coronavirus stimulus package," 6 Aug. 2020 What’s to come Because ARHGAP11B falls into a region of the human genome that is known to be associated with intellectual disability, schizophrenia and epilepsy, learning more about how it functions could also be important for understanding disease. Courtney Sexton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Brain Gene Tops the List for Making Humans, Human," 18 June 2020 Other preexisting conditions included liver disease, kidney disease, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability, and immunocompromised conditions. Anchorage Daily News, "Patients with other conditions 12 times more likely to die of covid-19 than otherwise healthy people, CDC finds," 16 June 2020 Ricky has a mild intellectual disability, works in Denver & has not returned home from work. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "Aurora police seeking missing, at-risk 47-year-old man," 23 Dec. 2019 Eight of the people were patients at Jacquelyn House, a group home for adults with intellectual disabilities, and the other two were staff members. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "10 People Hospitalized After Mistakenly Injected with Insulin Instead of the Flu Shot," 8 Nov. 2019 Studies of siblings of children with autism and intellectual disabilities have pointed to a pattern of loneliness, peer problems and depression in children as young as 5. Keren Landman, New York Times, "Growing Up Alongside a Sibling With a Disability," 11 May 2020 L’Arche Mobile is a community where people will and without intellectual disabilities share life together. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, "Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn will headline virtual L’Arche Football Preview in May," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intellectual disability.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of intellectual disability

1809, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for intellectual disability

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The first known use of intellectual disability was in 1809

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual disability.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual%20disability. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for intellectual disability

intellectual disability

noun

Medical Definition of intellectual disability

: mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below that is accompanied by significant limitations in social, practical, and conceptual skills (as in interpersonal communication, reasoning, or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning and that has an onset before age 18

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

… Rosa's Law, which changed references in federal law from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.— Victor R. Martinez

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