Frequently Asked Questions


What is intellectual disability?

Intellectual disability can be mild, moderate or severe. Factors such as personality, coping strategies and the presence of other disabilities (motor, social or sensory) will influence a person's requirement for support with daily living. Intellectual disability is thought to affect about 1 - 3% of the population. Of those affected, the majority have mild intellectual disability.

Every person is unique, regardless of their IQ score. Everyone has their own personality and areas of ability and areas of difficulty. Generally a person with an intellectual disability has difficulty learning and processing information as quickly as people without an intellectual disability; grasping abstract concepts such as money and time; understanding interpersonal interactions; and manipulating the ideas and concepts required for planning and organization.

Someone with intellectual disability has limitations in two areas, including:

  • Intellectual functioning. Also known as IQ (intelligence quotient), this refers to a person’s ability to learn reason, make decisions, and solve problems.  IQ is measured by an IQ test. The average IQ is 100. A person is considered to have an intellectual disability if he or she has an IQ of less than 70 to 75.
  • Adaptive behaviors. These are skills necessary for day-to-day life, such as being able to communicate effectively, interact with others, and take care of oneself




What is a developmental disability?

"Developmental Disabilities" is an umbrella term that includes intellectual disability but also includes other disabilities that are apparent during childhood. Developmental disabilities are those that can be cognitive or physical or both. The disabilities appear before the age of 22 and are likely to be lifelong. Some developmental disabilities are largely physical issues, such as Cerebral Palsy or Epilepsy. Some individuals may have a condition that includes a physical and intellectual disability.


What Is the NC Innovations Waiver?

NC Innovations is a Medicaid Waiver program for individuals with intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities.  It provides support to give individuals and families more control over their lives by offering a large array of service options to the enrollees.


NC Innovations seeks to support individuals to live the life they choose by...

  • Promoting promising practices that result in real-life outcomes for participants;
  • Offering service options that will facilitate participants’ abilities to live in homes of their choice, have employment, engage in a purposeful day of their choice and achieve their life goals;
  • Valuing and supporting individuals as members of the community;
  • Developing stronger natural support networks;
  • Providing a bridge to learning;
  • Providing the opportunity for all participants to direct their services to the extent they choose; and
  • Providing educational opportunities and support to foster the development of stronger natural support networks and enable participants to be less reliant on formal support systems.

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