Intellectual Disability Evaluation


A Developmental Disability is a life-long disability attributable to mental and/or physical impairments. Impairments may affect daily functioning in two or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development (receptive and expressive language skills), social/emotional development, and adaptive development (daily living skills). Developmental Disabilities include: Intellectual Disability (formally known as Mental Retardation) and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Intellectual disability (ID) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by deficits in cognitive and adaptive functioning presenting before 18 years of age. ID can include a wide variety of functioning, disability, and strengths. A global developmental delay is used to describe children younger than age five who do not meet developmental milestones within normal age range and have deficits in areas of functioning.


An ID evaluation can help in providing information on a specific diagnosis and the need for support services. Early diagnosis and intervention, coupled with access to health care and appropriate supports can help families in the process of education and appropriate support.

Some signs to look for if seeking an ID evaluation:

  • Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking late
  • Talking late or having trouble with talking
  • Slow to master things like potty training, dressing, and feeding himself or herself
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Inability to connect actions with consequences
  • Behavior problems such as explosive tantrums
  • Difficulty with problem-solving or logical thinking


Parents will attend a 1 hour intake session that will provide the doctor with all relevant past and current information. During the evaluation, parents will fill out several surveys to report history and present information about your child. It may be helpful to bring snacks for your child. You may have more than one testing appointment for your child depending on your child’s age. You will also participate in a structured interview with your doctor to discuss in more detail information concerning your child.


During an evaluation, your child will be given a cognitive test that includes questions and tasks to complete. In addition, he/she will participate in an interactional, play-based assessment with a doctor. Also, if your child is old enough, he/she will complete self-report surveys. The process of testing may take up to 6 hours.