Cognitive Delay

Intellectual disability is a term used when a person has certain limitations in mental functioning and in skills such as communicating, taking care of him or herself, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child.

Children with intellectual disabilities (sometimes called cognitive disabilities or, previously, mental retardation) may take longer to learn to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating. They are likely to have trouble learning in school. They will learn, but it will take them longer. There may be some things they cannot learn.

There can be an overlap in defining developmental and cognitive disabilities. "Developmental" and "cognitive" are very broad labels, and do not particularly indicate the level of skill or ability that an individual may have.

"Cognitive disabilities" generally refers to any disability affecting mental processes. Examples include:

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Dyslexia
  • Aphasia
  • Brain injury
  • Language delay
  • Learning disabilities


The Facts About Cognitive Impairment- Siskin Children's Institute

Center for Parent Information and Resources- Parent Center Hub

Facts about Intellectual Disability- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)