Intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are disorders that are usually present at birth and that negatively affect the trajectory of the individual’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development. Many of these conditions affect multiple body parts or systems.
Intellectual disability1 starts any time before a child turns 18 and is characterized by problems with both:
The term "developmental disabilities" is a broader category of often lifelong disability that can be intellectual, physical, or both.2
"IDD" is the term often used to describe situations in which intellectual disability and other disabilities are present.3
It might be helpful to think about IDDs in terms of the body parts or systems they affect or how they occur. For example4:
The exact definition of IDD, as well as the different types or categories of IDD, may vary depending on the source of the information.
For example, within the context of education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law that aims to ensure educational services to children with disabilities throughout the nation, the definition of IDD and the types of conditions that are considered IDD might be different from the definitions and categories used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide services and support for those with disabilities. These definitions and categories might also be different from those used by health care providers and researchers.
For more information about disabilities included in IDEA, visit http://nichcy.org/disability/categories . For information about SSA and disabilities, visit http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm.
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