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Intellectual disability in children: Management, outcomes, and prevention

Penelope Pivalizza, MD
Section Editors
Marc C Patterson, MD, FRACP
Helen V Firth, DM, FRCP, DCH
Carolyn Bridgemohan, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Intellectual disability (ID) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with multiple etiologies that is characterized by deficits in intellectual and adaptive functioning presenting before 18 years of age [1]. ID is heterogeneous and encompasses a broad spectrum of functioning, disability, and strengths. ID is an important public health issue because of its prevalence and the need for extensive support services. Its management requires early diagnosis and intervention, coupled with access to health care and appropriate supports that lessen disability and optimize progress in functioning.

The management, outcomes, and prevention of ID are discussed here. Other aspects of ID are discussed separately:

(See "Intellectual disability in children: Definition, diagnosis, and assessment of needs".)

(See "Intellectual disability in children: Evaluation for a cause".)


The following terms are used throughout this topic (see "Intellectual disability in children: Definition, diagnosis, and assessment of needs", section on 'Definitions'):

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 26, 2017.
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