Understanding intellectual disability

The causes of intellectual disability can vary from genetic conditions, injuries, infections or complications around the time of birth. For many people however, no cause is found. It is common for people with intellectual disability to have other types of disability.

People with intellectual disability may have difficulty identifying and choosing options at key life transition points – two important transition points are from home to school and from school to adult life (study, employment, meaningful activities). 

  • Over half a million Australians have intellectual disability. 
  • There are four levels of intellectual disability - mild, moderate, severe, and profound. 
  • Almost 60 per cent of people with intellectual disability have severe communication limitations. 

Some of the most common causes of intellectual disability include: 

People with an intellectual disability often have difficulty with learning, reasoning and problem solving. It can also affect adaptive behaviour like independence, social skills and personal care. The age of onset for these conditions to occur is during the developmental period.

A formal assessment needs to be carried out for a child to be diagnosed with an intellectual disability. This is completed by a psychologist or qualified professional in the assessment of cognitive and adaptive behaviour.

Reports And Statistics On Disability Services

Inclusion Australia

Contact us today

Give us a call on 1800 275 753 to discuss your support needs with our Allied Health team, or send an online enquiry and we'll be in touch.

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How can CPL help?



The NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach supports children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families/carers. Support Coordinators can help you to navigate your first NDIS plan.

Independent living

CPL provides 24/7 Supported Independent Living services, and has a number of vacancies in accessible homes.

Employment and Training opportunities

There are a range of disability employment and training pathways for people with intellectual disability that are designed to help you reach your goals.

Getting out into your community

We can support you to access what you want and need to in your local community - whatever your age and whenever you need us.

Allied Health therapies

CPL's Allied Health team can support people who have an intellectual disability through speech, physical and occupational therapies.