Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.
Is intellectual disability the same as mental retardation? Why do some programs and regulations still say mental retardation?
The term intellectual disability covers the same population of individuals who were diagnosed previously with mental retardation in number, kind, level, type, duration of disability, and the need of people with this disability for individualized services and supports. Furthermore, every individual who is or was eligible for a diagnosis of mental retardation is eligible for a diagnosis of intellectual disability.
While intellectual disability is the preferred term, it takes time for language that is used in legislation, regulation, and even for the names of organizations, to change.