Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Intellectual Disability

  • Mark Burton
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_154


Intellectual disability (formerly known by a number of pejorative terms, most notably mental retardation) is a condition that has been closely tied to the very evolution of psychology in the context of social policy. The psychology of intellectual disability has reflected the various approaches to psychology, including critical approaches, and their associated social theories.


Intellectual disability has been defined as “a condition of arrested or incomplete development of the mind, which is especially characterized by impairment of skills manifested during the developmental period, skills which contribute to the overall level of intelligence, i.e., cognitive, language, motor, and social abilities” (World Health Organization [WHO], 2010) or “a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills…[originating] before the age of 18” (American...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Health and Social ChangeManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK