Intellectual disability is not something we have, like blue eyes or a heart problem. Nor is it something that we are, like being short or thin... Intellectual disability refers to a particular state of functioning that starts in childhood, characterized by limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive skills. So we cannot say, “this person has a disability” or “this person is disabled”, because intellectual disability is not something we can have or be (AAMR).
Intellectual disability is not a question of something that individuals have or are: they are PEOPLE, not “the handicapped”. We therefore refer to people with intellectual disability, not handicapped people or the disabled. As people, they have the skills with which they are biologically provided to make a space for themselves in the environment they live in. But the differing extent to which these skills develop is dependent not just on a “genetic bank account”; it also depends on the environment.
A child does not develop in isolation, a person only becomes a person in society with other people, and the human baby comes into this world dependent on social need and feeds on interaction. We need our cultural, social and emotional environment to accompany us on our way through life.