Intellectual Disability is the third (alphabetically) of the six major disability categories at the Paralympic Games.

A person with an intellectual disability must have substantial limitation in present functioning characterised by intellectual functioning (the American Association of Mental Retardation defines this as an IQ of 70 or below), limitations in two or more of the following adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work and have acquired their condition before age 18.

Intellectual Disability athletes were banned from Paralympic competition after a cheating scandal at the Sydney 2000 Summer Paralympics, where a number of the members of Spain's basketball team were discovered not to be suffering from an intellectual disability.

After 9 years of campaigning from various groups involved with parasport, the IPC voted to reinstate Intellectual Disability athletes into the Paralympic Games on 21 November 2009.

In the Paralympics, Intellectual Disability is abbreviated to ID.

Although the parasports that Intellectual Disability Athletes will compete in at the next Paralympic Games have not yet been confirmed, it is likely that they will be included in at least:


Athletics is open to all disability groups and uses a functional classification system.

A brief classification guide is as follows: (prefixing F for field athletes or T for track athletes)

F or T 11-13 are Visually Impaired

F or T 20 are Learning Difficulty

F or T 31-38 are Cerebral Palsy

F or T 41- 46 Amputee and Les Autres

T 51- 54 Wheelchair track athletes

F51- 58 Wheelchair field athletes


Cycling is open to Amputee, Les Autres, Cerebral Palsy and Visually Impaired athletes who compete in individual road race and track events.

Classification is split into divisions 2, 3 and 4 for athletes with Cerebral Palsy, athletes in division two being the most severely handicapped progressing to division 4 which includes physically more able athletes.

Visually Impaired athletes compete together with no separate classification system. They ride in tandem with a sighted guide.

Amputee, Spinal Cord Injury and Les Autres competitors compete within the classification groupings:

LC1 - essentially for riders with upper limb disabilities

LC2 - essentially for riders with disabilities in one leg but who are able to pedal normally

LC3 - essentially for riders with a handicap in one lower limb who will usually pedal with one leg only

LC4 - for riders with disabilities affecting both legs.


Football is open to athletes with cerebral palsy and includes classes 5, 6, 7 and 8.  All classes comprise ambulant athletes; class 5 being the least physically able, progressing through to class 8 who are minimally affected. Teams must include at least one athlete from either class 5 or 6.


Classification is divided into three groups:

S1 to S10 are those with Physical Impairment. S1 will have the most severe impairment and an S10 a lesser impairment, for example a hand amputation.

S11 to S13 are those with a Visual Impairment. S11 will have little or no vision, S12 can recognise the shape of a hand and have some ability to see, S13 greater vision than the other two classes but less than 20 degrees of vision.

S14 is for athletes with a Learning Difficulty.

Table Tennis

Table tennis is open to athletes with a physical or Learning Difficulty spread over 11 classes.

Classes 1 to 5 encompass athletes competing from a Wheelchair with class 1 being the most severely disabled and class 5 the least disabled.

Classes 6 to 10 comprise ambulant athletes with class 6 the most severely disabled and class 10 the least.

Class 11 is for athletes with a Learning Difficulty.


Volleyball is open to athletes with a physical disability and has both a sitting and standing event.

In sitting volleyball the court is smaller than standard and has a lower net.

Standing volleyball uses a full sized court and normal height net.

In the sitting games the only classification is the minimal disability ruling; athletes may compete if they have a disability that prevents them from competing on equal terms with able bodied athletes.