Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology

Resources for Introduction to Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology (4th edition)

5. Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disorders

Learning Objectives

Description and Epidemiology

Describe the key features of intellectual disability and global developmental delay. 

Explain how children with developmental disabilities can vary in terms of their cognitive and adaptive functioning.

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



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

Identification, Prevention, & Treatment

Identify evidence-based techniques to prevent and treat developmental disabilities and associated problems in children and adolescents.

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


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.


Children with intellectual disability and/or autism sometimes show stereotypies. This short video, produced by psychologists at Johns Hopkins, shows different kids of stereotypies and how they can be treated in kids.

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.

Edward Zigler & Head Start

Ed Zigler has been instrumental in the way we think about child development and promote the welfare of children and families. This video, which features Zigler contains several touching stories about his work with Head Start.

Prader-Willi syndrome

This wonderful film features Cami, a girl with PWS, and her parents who must monitor her eating behavior 24 hours a day. The video shows the love and dedication Cami's parents have for their daughter.

Angelman syndrome

The Angelman Syndrome Support Education & Research Trust (ASSERT) produced this great video that introduces you to several families affected by this condition. Parents share the joys and challenges of raising children with AS.

Williams syndrome

The Williams Syndrome Association produced this excellent video that features children and adults with WS and their families. It nicely illustrates the behavioral phenotype associated with this condition.

DiGeorge (22q) syndrome

Children with 22q often experience heart problems and are at risk for cognitive delays and speech/language problems. This video, produced by the International 22q Foundation, features several children and families.

Fragile X syndrome

The Fragile X Society produced this excellent video to introduce you to this condition. It features several children and families. Notice how boys and girls with Fragile X often manifest the condition differently.

Rett syndrome

Rett syndrome is a neurological disorder almost always seen in girls. This video, produced by Cincinnati Children's Hospital, tells the story of Gabby, a 9-year-old with this condition.


Children with PKU must adhere to a strict diet to avoid neurological damage and cognitive disabilities. The National PKU Alliance produced this video, which features parents raising children with this condition.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome produced this video that features Chris, a teen with FASD. The video shows FASD from Chris' perspective and the efforts of his mother to help him advocate for his needs.

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?