About Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities are 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 has a typical onset before the age of 18 and affects 6.5 million people in the U.S. and 1.5 million people in the U.K.

There are many signs of intellectual disability, including:

  1. trouble speaking or delayed speaking abilities;
  2. trouble thinking logically and solving problems;
  3. sitting up, crawling or walking later than other children; and,
  4. difficulty understanding social rules.

An intellectual disability can be diagnosed based on an assessment of mental abilities and adaptive skills. An IQ test can also be used to assess intellectual function.

There are currently no approved drugs indicated for treatment of intellectual disabilities. In addition, where available, patients often participate in special education classes and customized training in social behavior and life skills. In light of the potentially significant disease burden, an effective therapy for intellectual disabilities could have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of patients, caregivers and healthcare systems.

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES

There are several organizations working to address the needs of individuals and families affected by intellectual disabilities with information and support services, including:

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation
http://www.pmsf.org/

FRAXA Research Foundation
http://www.fraxa.org

National Fragile X Foundation
https://fragilex.org

Autism Speaks
https://www.autismspeaks.org

Organization for Autism Research
http://www.researchautism.org