AAIDD presents its first official definition of the term “intellectual disability” (formerly mental retardation) in the 11th edition of its Definition Manual titled Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports.
The 11th edition of the AAIDD Definition Manual contains the world’s most current and authoritative information and knowledge on defining, classifying, and diagnosing intellectual disability and planning life-long supports for people living with this condition. Written by a committee of 18 experts, Intellectual Disability is based on seven years of work by the Committee. In particular, the process of developing the book included: (1) a synthesis of current information and best practices regarding intellectual disability; (2) numerous reviews and critiques of the previous 10th edition of the AAIDD definition manual; and (3) feedback from the field regarding a series of articles published by the Committee.
The concept of disability being a static, life-long condition is passé. People with intellectual disability can lead vibrant and fulfilling lives in society. The AAIDD definition and diagnostic system matches this contemporary view of disability. The AAIDD System is based on the concept that a disability should be considered within the context of an individual’s environmental and personal factors, and the need for individualized supports. AAIDD recognizes that limitations coexist with strengths in an individual and that IQ alone does not give you the information you need to identify what supports will improve a person’s functioning.
The AAIDD Definition and Diagnostic System is based on three criteria: significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills and age of onset before the age of 18. However, supports remain the cornerstone of the AAIDD System. Hence, once a diagnosis of intellectual disability is made, planning and providing supports is the key to reduce the mismatch between a person’s capabilities and the skills and behaviors needed to successfully participate in all aspects of daily life.
The concept of Supports is based on a simple idea: Give a person with an intellectual disability appropriate supports and you can enhance his or her functioning in society. Supports are resources or strategies that promote the development, education, interests, and well-being of a person. For example, supports can be technologies such as a personal digital assistant that shows what steps to follow to complete a job or a bus driver that prompts a person to get off at a stop. By providing proper supports, you enhance the functioning of a person in society, perpetuate person-centered care, and contribute to a better quality of life in society.
Professionals will find in the AAIDD definition manual, detailed discussions on the 10 dimensions of support areas in a person’s life; the five-step process for assessing, planning, and delivering supports to a person with intellectual disability; and various approaches to individualized service planning.
The new 2010 edition is a must-have resource for any professional in developmental disability. Past buyers of the Manual include professionals such as, clinical psychologists; disability association executives; university faculty; lawyers, public defenders and advocates; physicians; psychiatrists; court officials; school psychologists; service providers; social workers; special education teachers; state education officials; and vocational experts.
The AAIDD Ad Hoc Committee on Terminology and Classification consists of 18 world-renowned experts in disability, medicine, policy, special education, and law. To learn more about individual members, click here.
There are four ways to order Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports (11th edition):
Phone: 1 (301)-604-1340
Fax: 1 (301)-206-9789 (Download an order form here)
Mail: AAIDD Publications, 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0025