Developmental Perspectives on the Study of Persons with Intellectual Disability

Jacob A. Burack, David W. Evans, Natalie Russo, Jenilee Sarah Napoleon, Karen J. Goldman, Grace Iarocci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Developmental approaches provide inclusive, universal, and methodologically rigorous frameworks for studying persons with intellectual disability (ID). This is an exceptionally heterogeneous group with regard to etiology, genotype, and phenotype that simply shares the traditional diagnostic criteria, typically a score of two standard deviations below the population mean of 100 on standardized IQ tests and deficits in adaptive behavior. We trace the foundational, conceptual, and methodological roots of developmental approaches and highlight ways that these and more recent iterations continue to be central to advances in the increasingly nuanced study of persons with ID. This work is premised on the consideration of specific etiological groupings and subgroupings across and between different domains of functioning within the context of familial and complex environments throughout the life span. We highlight the potential contributions of advances in behavioral methodologies, genomics, and neuroscience when considered within universal and hierarchic frameworks based on development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-363
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology
StatePublished - May 7 2021


  • Adaptive behavior
  • Developmental approach
  • Etiologies
  • IQ
  • Intellectual disability
  • Syndromes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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