Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Home| OISE| U of T| Quercus| Site Map | Contact Us | Feeling Distressed?
INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
Go to selected destination

Intellectual Exceptionality- Moderate Intellectual Disability  (M.I.D.)

Ministry Definition: a severe disorder characterized by:






…a learning disorder characterized by:

an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and supportive services:
or an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development:
a potential for academic learning independent social adjustment and economic self-support – M.I.D.

An ability or an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development:
a potential for academic learning independent social adjustment and economic self-support – M.I.D.

Intellectual Exceptionality -Moderate to Severe Developmental Disability (D.D.)


Ministry Definition: a severe disorder characterized by:

a) an inability to profit from a special education program for student with mild intellectual disabilities, because of slow intellectual development
b) an ability to profit from a special educational program designed to accommodate slow intellectual  development;
c) a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment and economic self-support. D.D.


1. The identification of these exceptionalities, like the gifted, are usually based on the results of a psychoeducational assessment and the IQ scores obtained in these assessments.  Students identified as DD obtain very low scores on such tests, and in some cases it may even be difficult or impossible to complete an assessment. 

2. Students with moderate to severe intellectual developmental disabilities are usually identified long before they even enter school.  Sometimes children are identified at birth, or most are identified by the time they are a year to 18 months old, when parents become concerned that their child is not achieving the same developmental milestones in muscle, language or intellectual development as their peers. 

3. Placement of students with developmental delays will depend on the severity of the disability and the Special Education Plan of the Board of Education.
Most school boards operate self-contained programs for student with severe developmental disabilities.  Many of these students may be identified Teaching will be highly individualized but may focus on basic life skills.


Intellectual Exceptionlity MID
Students with moderate developmental delays do well in programs that are intellectually stimulating.  It has been shown that early implementation of cognitive and linguistically stimulating programming can change IQ scores.  Brain research supports this contention as mental stimulation can result in the growth of the dendrites of neurons, and the connections these dendrites make to other neurons. Alternatively if there is little stimulation dendrite connections can die.
Special programming or placement in the regular class assists these students in being with other students who are socially appropriate and where mental stimulation can occur, even if curriculum expectations need to be modified.
Research has also shown that it is not damaging to the higher functioning students.





















 Intellectual Exceptionality DD

There are less than 1% of the school population identified as severely developmentally delayed. 

As stated above most of the students are placed in special self contained classes or schools and a re taught by teachers who have obtained  additional qualifications in special education.







Educational Implications

Intellectual Exceptionality MID

These students may find:

  • The pace of the class moves to quickly for them.
  • The language structure and vocabulary too complex and so will have difficulty following class discussions.
  • The language in reading materials especially in content rich subjects may be challenging when the student lacks background information, or there are demands on higher level thinking and conceptualization e.g. inferencing and seeing cause and effect relationships.

However, there are many students in this MID group or students who have just slightly lower than average IQ scores who do very well at school, as they may be able to learn rote-learned tasks.  Spelling, basic math skills and the ability to write neatly and comply with work assignments are often fulfilled and as a result they are able to attain passing grades.

How can adaptive technology be used to enable these students to be successful at school or to modify programming?

The following is from a power point presentation made by
Nanci Smith
Educational Consultant
    Curriculum and Professional Development
    Cave Creek, AZ

For Students with Mild or Moderate Developmental Delays or Similar Struggles

•    Focus on essential concepts and principles as a context for applying IEP skills.
•    Use IEP goals in ways that integrate students with their peers rather than isolating them.
•    Whenever possible, teach for meaning  – build frameworks of meaning.
•    Spotlight the student’s legitimate successes and contributions.
•    Use small groups for teaching needed skills, re-teaching by need.

 Intellectual Exceptionality DD

Students with severe developmental delays require highly specialized teaching and adaptive technology.

When you explore the adatpive technology think of how some of these programs my assist these students. In addition if during your practicum you are in a school that has  program for DD go and 'visit' this program


More text goes here.