Mild Intellectual Disability Support Beyond Tutoring

Intellectual Disability (ID) is a learning disability characterized by below average intelligence or mental ability and a deficit in general life skills. ID can range from mild to profound in severity. It is measured explicitly by psychological diagnosis. ID is diagnosed by two factors – intelligence functioning and adaptive skills. Intelligence functioning is measured by an IQ (intelligence quotient) score. The average IQ is 100. Individuals with IQs of less than 70-75 are considered intellectually disabled. Adaptive skills refer to the tasks of daily life, such as communicating with others or being able to take care of one’s own needs. ID manifests itself as deficits in both of these factors.

Students with mild intellectual disability (MID) tend to be between 2-4 years behind their peers and require more time than others to learn new skills; however, with appropriate modifications and accommodations, MID students can learn in a regular classroom environment.

MID can arise from genetics, medical conditions, and poor prenatal care. Examples of conditions where a student could also be considered to have a MID are:

Down syndrome

Fragile X syndrome

Fetal Alcohol syndrome

Common Issues Associated with MID

Speech: Students’ speech may be delayed and slow; sentences are often broken or very challenging to understand.

Behaviour: Frustration, anger, and behaviour issues can be caused by an inability to communicate as others do.

Memory: Students may have a short attention span and poor memory.

Social relationships: Students with MID can often be isolated by their peers or fail to integrate appropriately.

Day-to-day activities: Students may experience difficulty recalling and completing life skills such as brushing teeth, washing hands, and keeping themselves safe.

How We Support Students with MID: 

Using 1-to-1 Direct Instruction, beginning with what students know and progressing sequentially through needed skills in math, reading, writing, and spelling using research-based programs

Teaching academic strategies to help students feel more confident and successful

Teaching executive functioning and organizational skills (e.g. use of personal calendars, personalized daily schedules, checklists)

Using personalized reference sheets of what students have learned to transfer skills to all environments (e.g. classroom, home)

Get Started with Mild Intellectual Disability Support Today

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Further Reading and Resources


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