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Intellectual Disability: Diagnosis

The definition and diagnosis of intellectual disability (ID) have changed over time in accordance with updates in terminology (e.g., mental retardation), public laws (e.g., Individuals With Disabilities Education Acts, Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver), and a broader range of assessments that help diagnose individuals with ID. The operational definition of ID, supported by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (2010), states that ID “is characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18” (p. 5). To further understand this definition, intellectual functioning and the overall components of adaptive behavior must also be explained. First, intellectual functioning evaluates overall comparisons of intelligence quotients (IQ). IQs ...

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