Other considerations for intellectual disability

First aid

A student with an intellectual disability may have difficulty communicating that they are in pain or unwell. 
Communicate with their family about the signs of pain to look for, such as grimacing. Encourage gestures or other methods of communication to work out what may be happening.


A student with an intellectual disability may benefit from supports when moving across education settings.

It may be helpful to teach and practise organisation and homework skills, and time- and self- management skills.

For more information about supporting students with disability when transitioning to a primary or high school setting access our transition page.

For students transitioning to primary school access our school story - a school day, and for students transitioning to high school access our school story - how to be organised.


Consider student strengths and assistance required. Some students may find completing homework without help difficult. Work out what a student is able to do without help before assigning homework. 

Alternatively, consider not giving homework to the class to give the student some time away from books. Adjust homework tasks for the student.

Other co-occuring conditions

Some students with an intellectual disability may also be diagnosed with autism, anxiety, cerebral palsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

Refer to understanding disability page or common needs page to help support the student..


The School Sport Unit provides inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities and pathways for students with disability across NSW. These focus on ability, participation, enjoyment and skill development. Opportunities include gala days, Multi-Sport days, knockouts and Come-and-Try Athletics days, and are available for students with disability who learn in mainstream classrooms, support classes in mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes.

Inclusive school sport programs have the potential to support a student with disability’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Watch Lexie and Anna’s stories of what sport and physical activity, both at school and in their journey through the representative school sport pathway, has meant to them. 


Safety drills

Some students with an intellectual disability may not know how to tell an adult if there is an emergency, or what to do in an emergency or emergency drill. Consider making time for demonstrating and practicing what to do.


Some students may not complete their work, or they may engage in behaviours of concern that disrupt the class (for example, call out during class).

Giving students choices in their work may make them more motivated and less likely to be distracted. Showing them positive behaviour and giving them clear instructions so that they know what is expected may also help.

Picture cards or stories about social situations can teach students about positive behaviour. Many students can be taught how to self-monitor their behaviour.

Consider asking them to record whether they have done what they were asked to do. See our self-monitoring form page.

Refer to the behaviour page for more information on how to reduce behaviours of concern by supporting the student and promoting more helpful behaviour.

Access our emotions page for more information about supporting a student with managing their emotions.


Read more about how peer inclusion and group work can support peers with learning social and communication skills that facilitate the inclusion of students with disability.

School camps

Some students with an intellectual disability may need extra help on camps. Discuss with parents or carers what help their student may need.


Some students with an intellectual disability may need extra help with toileting. Discuss with parents or carers what help their student may need.