Intellectual Disability

An intellectual disability is characterised by deficits in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour. The student’s identified level of functioning results in activity limitations and participation restrictions at school requiring significant education adjustments.

Intellectual functioning

Intellectual functioning associated with moderate intellectual disability is characterised by deficits in reasoning, problem solving, planning, abstract thinking, judgment, academic learning and learning from life experiences. For the purposes of eligibility for the Special School, this is typically associated with an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) score of approximately 35- 55.

Adaptive behaviour

Adaptive behaviour associated with a moderate intellectual disability is characterised by deficits that impair functioning in comparison to a student’s age and cultural group in one or more aspects of daily living such as communication, social participation, functioning at school or work, or independence.


According to the Disability Standards for Education 2005, an adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate on the same basis as other students. It should be noted that for the purposes of verification, significant education adjustments:

  • May benefit all/other students, but are essential for the identified student to access and participate in the intended curriculum.
  • Need to be specific and targeted to the identified impairment and the individual student.
  • Include the range, breadth, frequency and complexity of adjustments that are required.

Moderate Intellectual Disability

‘Moderate intellectual disability’ means a disability where the impact of the intellectual disability, or multiple impairments (including an intellectual disability), results in the student requiring a highly individualised program to access and participate in education.

Personalised Plan

A highly individualised program includes the following:

  • A negotiated individual learning plan identifying the individual curriculum pathway with appropriate learning expectations.
  • Assessment and reporting against these learning expectations.
  • Specialised teaching.
  • Significant education adjustments.
  • Continuous monitoring and support delivered by a multi-disciplinary team which may include:
    • (i) Alternative/augmentative communication programs.
    • (ii) Small groups or one-on-one support.
    • (iii)Therapy programs and specialised health needs management.