What is Intelligence?
Intelligence refers to a general mental capability. It involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience. Although not perfect, intelligence is represented by Intelligent Quotient (IQ) scores obtained from standardized tests given by a trained professional. In regard to the intellectual criterion for the diagnosis of mental retardation, mental retardation is generally thought to be present if an individual has an IQ test score of approximately 70 or below. An obtained IQ score must always be considered in light of its standard error of measurement, appropriateness, and consistency with administration guidelines. Since the standard error of measurement for most IQ tests is approximately 5, the ceiling may go up to 75. This represents a score approximately 2 standard deviations below the mean, considering the standard error of measurement. It is important to remember, however, that an IQ score is only one aspect in determining if a person has mental retardation. Significant limitations in adaptive behavior skills and evidence that the disability was present before age 18 are two additional elements that are critical in determining if a person has mental retardation.
What is Adaptive Behavior?
Adaptive behavior is the collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that people have learned so they can function in their everyday lives. Significant limitations in adaptive behavior impact a person's daily life and affect the ability to respond to a particular situation or to the environment.
Limitations in adaptive behavior can be determined by using standardized tests that are normed on the general population including people with disabilities and people without disabilities. On these standardized measures, significant limitations in adaptive behavior are operationally defined as performance that is at least 2 standard deviations below the mean of either (a) one of the following three types of adaptive behavior: conceptual, social, or practical, or (b) an overall score on a standardized measure of conceptual, social, and practical skills.
What are some specific examples of Adaptive Behavior Skills?
Receptive and expressive language
Reading and writing
Gullibility (likelihood of being tricked or manipulated)
Personal activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, mobility and toileting. Instrumental activities of daily living such as preparing meals, taking medication, using the telephone, managing money, using transportation and doing housekeeping activities.
Maintaining a safe environment