Intellectual Ability – Low

What it is

An area of student need that involves low levels of cognition. Reduced intellectual ability reduces the understanding and functioning of a student compared to age/grade peers.

Teaching Strategies

• Assess to determine current level of achievement.
• Use instructional methods related to the student’s strengths and interests.
• Analyze errors to determine gaps in learning.
• Develop and implement Individual Education Plan (IEP) programming (accommodations, modifications and/or alternative programming, as determined from assessment of the student).
• Use concrete pictures, models and hands-on materials to increase understanding.
• Use Differentiated Instruction methods frequently.
• Use repetition.


• Reduce visual and auditory distractions.
• Use preferential seating, so that the student is close to the teacher.
• Post reference material in the class for student use (math facts, alphabet, periodic table).


• Provide additional time.
• Offer a quiet work location.
• Allow for oral/scribed tests.
• Ensure understanding of test questions.
• Allow for a reference sheet to be used for tests.
• Provide choice of assignments, so that the student can choose an area of strength.
• Provide written instructions and rubrics for assignments.
• Chunk assignments into parts and provide feedback as each part is completed.

See the Mild Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability sections for additional strategies and resources.

For Purchase

Strategies for various student needs.