Cognitive Deficits Overview
Cognitive deficits, also called intellectual disability, is a condition beginning in childhood in which people show significant limitations in their ability to learn and function.
The two systems most commonly used to categorize individuals with intellectual disability are those adopted by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV-TR). The DSM-IV subdivides individuals with intellectual disability into degrees of severity based on their level of impairment (mild, moderate, severe, or profound) in intellectual functioning, while the AAMR classifies individuals on their ability to function in an inclusive environment and defines the degree of severity (intermittent, limited, extensive, or pervasive) based on the patterns and intensity of support needed.
About 5% of the population have cognitive deficits, and most of these individuals fall into the mild range deficit category. Sometimes, children with attention deficits, learning disabilities, communication disorders, or pervasive developmental disorders may be thought to have intellectual disability. To make a correct diagnosis, all children with a pattern of delayed or abnormal development or learning should undergo comprehensive psychoeducational testing.
Georgina Peacock, MD
Elizabeth A Finley-Belgrad, MD
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Cynthia R Ellis, MDr
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