Intellectual Disabilities

Introduction to Intellectual Disabilities

Tammy Reynolds, B.A., C.E. Zupanick, Psy.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

The term "intellectual disability" is a specific type of disability. It is caused by limited mental capacity. Limited mental capacity makes it difficult to develop important mental abilities. This includes reasoning, planning, thinking, and judgment. This limited mental capacity makes it difficult to learn new things. The ability to learn is a very important mental ability. We learn new information and skills in school. We learn from our past mistakes. We learn how to do many things by watching others. When this ability to learn is lacking, it causes many problems in everyday life.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2013) lists three main criteria for intellectual disabilities:

1. Significant limitations in intellectual functioning (mental abilities);
2. Significant limitations in adaptive functioning (conceptual skills, social skills, and practical life skills);
3. The problems begin before age 18.

Although the APA's diagnostic manual is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (emphasis added), intellectual disabilities are not disorders in and of themselves. Instead, there are several causes of intellectual disabilities. For example, there are many genetic causes. Brain injuries can cause an intellectual disability. Some types of medical conditions can also affect the brain's development. Because intellectual disabilities are not disorders, there are no treatments. Instead, people are provided additional supports. These supports help people to have a satisfying life despite their disability.


Clinic Locations

Erath County
906 Lingleville Highway
Stephenville, TX 76401
(254) 968-4181

Hood County
104 Pirate Drive
Granbury, TX 76048
(817) 573-2662

Somervell County
301 Bo Gibbs
Glen Rose, TX 76043
(254) -552-2090

Johnson County
1601 North Anglin Street
Cleburne, TX 76031
(817) 558-1121

Palo Pinto County
214 SW 26th Ave, Suite A
Mineral Wells, TX 76068
(940) 325-9541

Parker County
1715 Santa Fe Drive
Weatherford, TX 76086
(817) 599-7634

Administration Office
2101 West Pearl Street
Granbury, TX 76048
(817) 579-4400


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