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A person with an intellectual disability is someone who has scored significantly lower on an intelligence test or assessment. It can also include someone who is below the norm of adaptive behavior. Adaptive behavior includes how people interact socially with others. Often times, an intellectual disability is not detected until a child is in early elementary school. This can even take place in the first or second grade when the student is having to adjust to solving harder problems and accomplishing more difficult tasks. The tests used to assess children with intellectual disabilities are norm based, meaning that the children are being compared to what would be considered the “norm” of society. 
The causes of intellectual disabilities, as opposed to developmental delays, are often known. They can be caused during a pregnancy, during birth, or after birth at any point. An example of during the pregnancy would be Down Syndrome because that was caused by the chromosomes in the DNA. An example of during birth would be, if the baby was exceptionally premature, he or she might have intellectual disabilities. An example of after birth would be an accident, for example, where there was a traumatic brain injury, and now the person’s intellectual level falls below that of the norm of society. There are also environmental causes for this, which can include malnutrition or drug use by the parent that affect a child. 
The effects of intellectual disability depend on the severity of each case. They range from mild to profound. Typically, the more severe the disability is, the more likely there is also a physical disability as well. Some characteristics of children with intellectual disabilities would be difficulty retaining the information taught to them, inability to solve problems, having a short attention span, inability to practice self care tasks, and lack of social skills.
There are several strategies to use in the classroom to benefit students with intellectual disabilities. The first is task analyzing. This might be useful for teaching an older student about personal hygiene. In task analyzing, one would break down the task into simple steps and include everything needed and the time needed to accomplish the task. This could work for teaching someone to brush their teeth or take a shower. Another simple but useful strategy is communicating well, which includes not going too fast or too slow for the student with the disability. The teacher should be sure to speak and communicate at an appropriate rate. One strategy given had to do with students who struggle with articulation. Be patient and allow them time to articulate the word instead of rushing and doing it for them. Hands-On learning is effective for students with intellectual disabilities because it creates a variation in the tasks instead of, for instance, a lecture only, hands off setting. Lastly, there is Play Based Learning, where a student can be paired with a peer tutor, teacher, or aide, and learn by interacting with the toys or activity being used, which allows them to hear words and see colors associated with what they are playing.