Intellectual disability (ID), also known as general learning disability, mental retardation is a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning. It is defined by an IQ under 70, once focused almost entirely on cognition, the definition now includes both a component relating to mental functioning and one relating to an individual’s functional skills in their daily environment. As a result of this focus on the person’s abilities in practice, a person with an unusually low IQ may still not be considered to have intellectual disability.
Intellectual disability is subdivided into syndromic intellectual disability, in which intellectual deficits associated with other medical and behavioral signs and symptoms are present, and non-syndromic intellectual disability, in which intellectual deficits appear without other abnormalities. Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome are examples of syndromic intellectual disabilities.
Intellectual disability affects about 2–3% of the general population. Seventy-five to ninety percent of the affected people have mild intellectual disability. Non-syndromic, or idiopathic cases account for 30–50% of these cases. About a quarter of cases are caused by a genetic disorder, and about 5% of cases are inherited from a person’s parents. Cases of unknown cause affect about 0.95 million people as of the 2018 census.