Inclusive New Media Design

including people with intellectual disabilities in the WWW

What is intellectual disability?

The following overlapping terms are all used when talking about intellectual disability:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disability
  • Learning difficulty
  • Cognitive disability
  • Mental retardation
  • Developmental disabilities.

Who uses which term? Term use can be summed up as follows:

  • Most UK social/health services use the term ‚Äòlearning disabilities‚Äô and are likely to continue doing so.
  • UK Government guidance in most areas also uses ‚Äòlearning disabilities‚Äô interchangeably with ‚Äòlearning difficulties‚Äô.
  • In practically every other country ‚Äòlearning disabilities‚Äô is used to describe scholastic disabilities, such as those often characterised as dyslexia.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend the term intellectual disabilities.
  • The WHO (along with the United Nations (UN)) also use the term mental retardation, but this has negative connotations in the UK.
  • It‚Äôs important to be aware that most non-UK references to learning disabilities are not referring to intellectual disabilities.

whatisID-1what is intellectual disability?people-id-2considering affected people

The UK Government Paper Valuing People (2001) quotes 1999 figures for incidence of learning/intellectual disabilities as:

  • Mild intellectual disabilities: 25 per 1000 people or 1.2 million people in total.
  • Severe and profound intellectual disabilities: 210,000 people.

The Mencap Website (2008) quotes 2007 figures as:

  • 1.5 million people in the UK have an intellectual disability.
  • 200 babies are born with a learning disability every week.

The number of people with intellectual disabilities is rising by about 1% a year because of:

  • better life-expectancy, for example for people with Down‚Äôs Syndrome.
  • better life-expectancy and post-natal care.
  • the increasing number of children surviving birth complications.
You are here: