Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology

Resources for students and teachers...

5. Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disorders

Learning Objectives

Describe the key features of intellectual disability (ID) and the way in which children with this condition can vary

in terms of their adaptive functioning.


Differentiate ID from global developmental delay (GDD).


List and provide examples of challenging behaviors shown by some children with developmental disabilities.


Distinguish between organic and cultural–familial ID.


Explain how genetic, metabolic, and environmental factors can lead to developmental disabilities in children.

Identify evidence-based techniques to prevent and treat developmental disabilities.
Apply learning theory to reduce challenging behaviors in youths with developmental disabilities.

Note: The number before each objective shows its corresponding module in the text.


Ready to Study? Click here to access flashcards for key terms presented in the text. Flashcards are a great way to help you define, explain, and give examples of important terms and ideas. (You may need to create a free Quizlet account to access the flashcards.)

Test Your Critical Thinking

Ready to Review? Click here to review each of the research questions presented in the text. Review questions are a great way to test your application and critical thinking skills.


Rosa's Law

Nine-year-old Rosa Marcellino and her family worked to eliminate the term "mentally retarded" from federal legislation and changed how we view people with intellectual disabilities.

Zika Virus Disease

The zika virus was liked to microcephaly in infants two years ago. This NOVA video tells the story of the history of zika and its effects on children (see especially 10:30 and after).

Born This Way

Born This Way is a series produced by A&E that chronicles the lives of young adults with Down syndrome and their parents. It shows these adults as they establish their careers, relationships, and independence.

Learn More

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

AAIDD is an interdisciplinary organization of individuals who strive to promote the well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of their primary activities are advocacy, education, research, and treatment. Be sure to visit the “resources” section here to find links to other organizations including The Arc of the United States, the National Association for Down Syndrome, and the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

APA Division 33: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

APA’s Division 33 is an organization of psychologists concerned with research and practice in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. On this site, you can locate the Division 33 newsletter Psychology in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to find the latest information about the field. The newsletter is available online.

Dolan DNA Learning Center

This wonderful website provides a multimedia guide to genetic disorders including Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and PKU. The site includes movies, flash presentations, interactive simulations, and lots of information. To begin exploring the site, go to the section on Fragile X syndrome and locate the movies under the section “What’s it like to have Fragile X?