Compensation Age Theory (CAT): Effects of Chronological Age on Cognitive Ability in Individuals with Intellectual Disability

  • Hefziba Lifshitz


This chapter presents a new concept in the field of ID: the compensation age theory (CAT). The holistic CAT framework supports the view that all human beings, even older persons with ID of various severity levels, are capable of growth, development, and neural sprouting. The CAT asserts that despite the possible limitations imposed by age or severity of disability, the concept “self-actualization” can be expanded to include people with ID who, under appropriate environmental conditions and with continuous systematic intervention, and as a consequence of maturity and life experience, can be brought to a level of cognitive functioning previously absent from their behavioral repertoire. Following the chapter’s introduction, which describes the backdrop for development of the CAT, this chapter presents four dimensions of the holistic CAT framework: (a) the theory; (b) the theoretical resources at its core; (c) a series of empirical studies that support the theoretical assumptions; and (d) cognitive educational intervention programs for adults with ID at all severity levels, which are anchored in this theory.


Adults with ID crystallized and fluid intelligence trajectory Compensation with age Cognitive growth Cognitive development 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hefziba Lifshitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Head of MA Program in Intellectual Disability, School of EducationBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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