chapter  20
12 Pages

Moderate to severe intellectual disability

In the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association), definition of intellectual disability includes both intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits in conceptual, social and practical domains that start during the developmental period. With regard to moderate intellectual disability, in the conceptual domain, conceptual skills are markedly behind those of peers. For preschoolers, this refers to language and pre-academic skills, while for those of school age it encompasses progress in reading, writing and mathematics. For adults, academic skills development is typically at an elementary level and support is necessary for all use of academic skills in work and personal life. In the social domain, spoken language is quite limited in vocabulary and grammar. Speech may comprise single words or phrases and communications are focused on immediate everyday events. Programmes of study for learners having moderate to severe intellectual disability include a recognisable subject basis. Practicality and relevance are especially important as conveyed by the term 'functional academic content'.