About Intellectual Disability and Health, and General Information

An understanding of the nature of intellectual disability is essential for health care professionals, who are required to support equal access to their services for all disabled people.

"Intellectual disability is:

  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with
  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning);
  • which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

Intellectual disability does not include all those who have an intellectual or learning difficulty, which is more broadly defined in education legislation."

The above definition is taken from the UK Government White Paper published in 2000 in 'Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century'.

Please note that throughout the website we use intellectual disability or intellectual disabilities, terms that are increasingly recognized throughout the world. The terms commonly used in the UK are learning disabilities or learning difficulty and, in North America, developmental disability, mental retardation and mental handicap.

Readers may find terminology used in some of the older articles on this website no longer contemporary and appropriate, as they were written some years ago. Despite this we have retained these articles as we consider their content still relevant and of value.

This website is an ideal learning resource for medical, nursing and other healthcare students.  Everyone working in healthcare will find valuable information here, with contributions from a wide range of authors. The editorial team has a considerable variety of clinical and academic experience spanning many years.

Although the layout of the website is undergoing an update, the content is unchanged and all the articles are still available as before.

Information for contributors

This website is an educational resource for medical, nursing, healthcare and social care students and practitioners. It welcomes articles of relevance to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities throughout the life cycle. This is a broad focus, including not only subjects such as prevention and diagnosis, epidemiology, medical practice and care, but also health and social care issues, family issues and perspectives, and the viewpoints of people with intellectual disabilities themselves. The website welcomes articles that address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, promoting means of challenging discrimination, and encouraging inclusion in health and social care, and decision-making.

Authors are asked to include further reading and internet resources together with the references. Articles should not exceed 2,500 words in length. New authors are encouraged to look at the website before drafting their contribution. We welcome student contributions to add to the repository. Articles are invited for consideration by the Editorial Board and decisions about publication will be made as quickly as possible. For further information, please email us via this link https://www.herts.ac.uk/intellectualdisability/contact-us

General information

This section gives details about copyright of articles, editorial board members and biographies of authors.


Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is accurate and up-to-date, the University of Hertfordshire/Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust & St George's, University of London do not guarantee its accuracy. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk.  Readers should verify information with the appropriate authority before relying on it.