Mild, severe and profound intellectual disabilities

The differences between different severities of intellectual disabilities.

Mild intellectual disabilities

People with mild intellectual difficulties might learn slowly in school; they usually have problems reading or writing, but they may still work.

They generally have good social relationships and contribute to society with a little help and support.

Severe intellectual disabilities

Some people have severe intellectual disabilities. Even as adults they will need a lot of help and support with daily living.

They will often have limited or eccentric communication and will have no literacy or numeric skills.

Profound intellectual disabilities

A small number of adults have profound intellectual disabilities and need intense support in all aspects of their lives. They almost always have additional physical and sensory disabilities.

People with profound intellectual disabilities may indicate their mood and immediate needs to people who know them well, but do not understand or communicate using conventional language.