intellectual disability


Definition of intellectual disability 

: significant impairment in intellectual ability accompanied by deficits in skills necessary for independent daily functioning : mental retardation … 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 app includes the ability to choose from a list of disabilities users might have, including autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities among others. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Best Dating Apps for Queer and LGBTQ People," 24 Aug. 2018 Authorities said Smith had intellectual disabilities, and was afraid of losing his job. Faith Karimi, CNN, "SC manager pleads guilty to beating black worker, not paying him for years," 7 June 2018 Both cause uncontrolled daily seizures and put patients at high risk for other physical and intellectual disabilities, injury and early death ... Washington Post, "The Health 202: SCOTUS's only 2018 health-care ruling may land today," 26 June 2018 Over time, this can cause loss of speech and cognitive skills, intellectual disabilities, cardiac issues, seizures, inhibited mobility and dementia, according to the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Family Fights to Save 6 Year Old with Childhood Alzheimer’s: 'He's the Light of My Life,' Says Mom," 25 May 2018 Her 9-month-old, Darby, was born with Trisomy 13, a rare chromosomal disorder, which causes severe intellectual disability and life-threatening medical problems. Jocelyn Wiener, sacbee, "That early help you need for your child doesn't come soon enough," 29 May 2018 Substance abuse services are competing for money with group homes for people with intellectual disabilities and hospitals that train medical students. Julia O'donoghue,, "Despite opioid crisis, Louisiana may cut drug treatment options," 8 May 2018 Rodriguez has autism spectrum disorder and participates in the Indianapolis Public Schools Life Skills program, which primarily serves students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Teen with autism gains life skills, independence through work program," 30 Apr. 2018 Special Olympics is the largest sports organization in the world for people with intellectual disabilities, boasting 5 million athletes in 172 countries. Stephen Hudak,, "Orlando chosen to host Special Olympic USA Summer Games in 2022, brings $61 million impact," 17 May 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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The first known use of intellectual disability was in 1809

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intellectual disability


Medical Definition of intellectual disability 

: significant impairment in cognitive functioning (as in learning, reasoning, or problem solving) accompanied by deficits in skills (such as communication and self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning : mental retardation … 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, The El Paso (Texas) Times, 23 Jan. 2012 With Medicaid waivers, some adults with retardation or, if you prefer, intellectual disabilities, can do what adults do, move out of their parents' homes—and into group homes.The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 27 Jan. 2008

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