Understanding Intellectual Disabilities

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an intellectual disability means a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (impaired intelligence). This results in a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), and begins before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

Disability depends not only on a child’s health conditions or impairments but also and crucially on the extent to which environmental factors support the child’s full participation and inclusion in society.


The use of the term intellectual disability in the context of the WHO initiative “Better health, better lives” includes children with autism who have intellectual impairments. It also encompasses children who have been placed in institutions because of perceived disabilities or family rejection and who consequently acquire developmental delays and psychological problems.

To learn more…

    The DSM-5 Fact Sheet on Intellectual Disability






 Definitions, symptoms, and causes of intellectual disability


Where to go for help and support

Rehabilitation centres:

Rehabilitation centres serve people who have a physical disability, an intellectual disability (ID), a pervasive development disorder (PDD), an addiction problem (alcohol, drugs, gambling) or behavioural, psychosocial or family difficulties. Generally speaking, rehabilitation centres offer adaptation, rehabilitation, social integration and accompaniment, as well as support services for family and friends. Their services may be provided on the centres’ premises, in schools, at work or at home, as need be. In Montréal, there are 14 rehabilitation centres, five of which are private.

Eastern Townships

Intellectual Disabilities and Pervasive Development Disorders Readapation Center Eastern Townships



Atelier le Fil d’Ariane inc. (private)

West Island Readaptation Centre (public)

Centre de réadaptation Gabrielle-Major (public)

Centre de réadaptation Lisette-Dupras (public)

Miriam Home and Services (public)

Services de réadaptation l’Intégrale (public)


Resources for Teachers

MEES Education Program for Students with a Profound Intellectual Disability

MEES CASP program for Students with a Moderate to Severe Intellectual Disability

On s’élève! OPHQ Teachers’ Awareness Guide for Students with Disabilities(French only)

Educational Pathways – Ministerial Programs and Frameworks as Applies to Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Resources for Parents

Handbook for Parents with Children with Special Needs?Quebec Federation of Parents’ Committees


Online Resources — Quebec Government

Régie des rentes Québec – Disability

Santé et Services Sociaux Québec – Personnes handicapées

Aide financières aux études Québec – Loans and Bursaries Program

A guide containing information on the various programs and services offered by government departments and agencies to persons with disabilities. ?The information is organized by category.   This guide is available in French Only

Persons with Disabilities – Disability Deduction


Canadian Government

Canadian Government-Human Rights and Disabilities

Parliament of Canada – Persons with Disabilities in the Canadian Labour Market: An Overlooked Talent Pool

Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Diabilities

Guide to Government of Canada Services for People with Disabilities and their families

Canadian Heritage – Canadian Rights Reporter

Statistics Canada – Children with disabilities and the educational system — ?a provincial perspective


Other Services

Financial Aid Directory

Financial Support Programs for Children with Disabilities



Action Handicap Estrie