Intellectual Disabilities

Florida's Voice

People with developmental or intellectual disabilities have a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

The ability to learn is often questioned with those who have intellectual disabilities, but that is a misnomer based on the perception of what this developmental disability actually is. Down Syndrome is often associated with an intellectual disability, but there many individuals with an intellectual disability do not have Down Syndrome. One should also note that having mental retardation doesn't mean a person can't learn. Ask anyone who knows and loves a person with an intellectual disability! Some kids with autism or cerebral palsy may be described as having an intellectual disability, yet they often have a great capacity to learn and become quite capable children, teens, and adults.

Just like other health problems, intellectual disabilities can be mild (smaller) or major (bigger). The greater the disability, the more trouble someone will have learning and becoming an independent person.

There is hope; there are those who listen and understand; and there are choices for those affected by disabilities. FVDD can help by offering the research, resources, and support so that families and individuals can make informed choices. We advocate for dignity and choice for persons with developmental disabilities. 

You are not alone. Contact Us for information or guidance.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~ Stacie Tauscher

Samuel’s Story

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    Samuel couldn’t wait for this day. He was so proud, as were his parents, grandparents, sister, and best friend. Today he was graduating from high school.

    As he stood with his classmates during the ceremony, he thought about the past few years. He had had so much fun, he had loved learning – earth science had been his favorite course – he had been the ball boy for the varsity football team and had gotten to travel to all the games, and he had made  so many friends.

    As he looked over to the crowd, he saw his mom, beaming.

    Tina was engrossed in her thoughts as well. She thought about how happy she was at this moment, and so proud of her son. It had been a long road, and very tiring and challenging at some points. Since Samuel was mentally retarded, she had wondered if he would ever be like the other “normal” kids around him. How happy she was that he wasn’t “normal;” her Sam was exceptional.

    Although Sam has intellectual disabilities, he had remained in many classes with his friends and had been able to get the extra help he needed with tutors. Tina knew that there were still challenges ahead, but with the support of friends, family, and tutors, Sam’s future looked bright.