Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

What are the different levels of intellectual disability that can occur in children and adults?

In preschool-age children (up to 5 years old), intellectual disability is classified at one of the following levels:

  • The child can develop social and communication skills. There is minimal retardation in sensorimotor areas.
  • The child can talk or learn to communicate but has poor social awareness and fair motor development. The child benefits from self-help training and can be managed with moderate supervision.
  • The child has poor motor development with minimal speech and little or no communication skills. The child is generally unable to benefit from self-help training.
  • The child has minimal capacity for functioning in sensorimotor areas, and requires nursing care, constant aid, and supervision.

In school-age children (6 to 20 years), intellectual disability or learning disability is classified at one of the following levels:

  • The child can learn academic skills up to approximately sixth-grade level by the late teens, and can be guided toward social conformity.
  • The child is unlikely to progress beyond second-grade level in school. The child can benefit from training in social and occupational skills, and may learn to travel alone in familiar places.
  • The child can talk or learn to communicate, can be trained in basic health habits and other functional habits. The child is unable to benefit from vocational training.
  • The child has some motor development and may respond to minimal or limited self-help training.

In adults (21 years and above), an intellectual disability is classified at one of the following levels:

  • The individual can usually achieve social and vocational skills for minimal self-support but may need guidance and assistance when under unusual social or economic stress.
  • The individual may achieve self-maintenance in unskilled or semiskilled work under sheltered conditions but requires supervision and guidance when under mild social or economic stress.
  • The individual may contribute partially to self-maintenance under complete supervision and can develop self-protection skills to a minimal useful level in a controlled environment.
  • The individual may have some motor and speech development and may achieve very limited self-care but requires nursing care.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

© Copyright 2023 HUPCFL All Rights Reserved.


Book Appt



Pay Bill