Professionals in the field and legislators have accepted the definitions below. Although detailed and somewhat technical, the definitions may help literacy tutors to better understand learners with intellectual / developmental disabilities, the target learner population for the SARC Literacy Activities Handbook.
"An intellectual disability is an impaired ability to learn. It sometimes
causes difficulty in coping with the demands of daily life. It is a condition
which is usually present from birth, and it is not the same as mental or psychiatric
Canadian Association for Community Living
"An intellectual disability, sometimes called a mental handicap, is a
label. A person who has this label is someone who has impaired learning ability
and may have difficulty adapting to some of the demands of daily life."
Association for Community Living
"Questions and Answers" Fact Sheet
"People with an intellectual disability have an intellectual or perceptual
impairment that means they master basic and social skills more slowly. Individuals
with this impairment may require particular supports and resources in order
to be included and participate fully in literacy programs. Some individuals
may also have motor or sensory impairments that require accommodation."
The Roeher Institute
Speaking of Equality: Making Literacy Programs Accessible to People with an Intellectual Disability - A Guide for Program Managers and Coordinators.
North York, ON: The Roeher Institute, 1995, pp. 5-7.