Developmental disabilities (DD) or intellectual disabilities are terms used synonymously in Canada. Learning disabilities is sometimes used in other jurisdictions. These terms refer to a range of conditions in which lifelong limitations in intellectual functioning and in conceptual, social, and practical skills (i.e., adaptive functioning) are noticeable before age 18 years.
Estimates of the prevalence of people with DD vary between 1-3% of Canadians, and if one includes those with borderline DD, the prevalence is significantly greater. Most adults with DD reside in and receive health care in the community. The tools in this book were developed to assist primary care providers (general practitioners, family physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners) in caring for adults with DD by helping them to implement various recommendations in Primary care of adults with developmental disabilities: Canadian consensus guidelines (DD Guidelines).