What Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning?

There are countless articles and presentations on the Internet about high intelligence and how people with high IQ are always ready to save the day. But when it comes to less intelligent people, all you can find are memes and sometimes very offensive jokes. The truth is, there are so many assumptions, rumors, and false information about low IQ, which can be really damaging.

A friend of mine who recently sent her son, Jack, to school has been informed that her son is having difficulties keeping up with the rest of the class and might need extra attention. With an IQ score of 70, Jack was labeled as “intellectually disabled”.

My friend came to me crying, confused, and scared of how this might affect his child’s life and asked me if he’d ever have a normal life like the rest of the people.

That’s when I explained to her that people with an IQ score of 70-85 are not disabled; they are considered individuals with “borderline Intellectual Functioning,” and I explained to her everything she needed to know about this term. 

Then, I thought clarifying the importance of this concept and other mental-related topics was vital. So, in today’s blog, I’ve decided to discuss one of these topics: borderline intellectual functioning.”

So, keep scrolling!

What Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning?

What Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning?

Borderline intellectual functioning is a term used to describe individuals who tend to have a borderline range of intellectual functioning. Basically, people with IQ scores of 70 to 75 are considered to have BIF.

Keep in mind that borderline intellectual functioning and being intellectually disabled are not the same. People with BIF have lower than average IQ, but not low enough to be considered disabled.


A lot of factors could cause BIF, including:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Problems during pregnancy
  • Absence of accurate fasciculus
  • Exposure to certain toxins

BIF: The Risks And Dangers

BIF: The Risks And Dangers

Poor Parenting

After conducting thorough research, scientists and researchers found out that parents of children with BIF were less likely to offer cheerful and supportive attitudes to their children. Also, they found that parents of children with BIF perceived their children to be more problematic than other children, even though that isn’t true.

Difficulties With Daily Living Activities

People with BIF tend to face a lot of challenges in getting daily tasks done. What other people can do very quickly could be the most complex thing for individuals with BIF. That includes struggling at school, working, shopping, etc.

Higher Risk For Psychiatric Disorders

Based on a recent study, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and PTSD disorders are more prevalent. 

Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning A Form Of Intellectual Disability?

Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning A Form Of Intellectual Disability?

No, BIF is not a form of intellectual disability. BIF is defined as an IQ score between 70 and 85, whereas intellectual disability refers to people who have an IQ score below 70.

People who struggle with intellectual disability mostly need help getting things done. Of course, they can master most daily activities, but it gets a little complicated when they are asked to do something out of their specific routine.

People with intellectual disability tend to have low temperatures and suffer from a lack of control over their rage when frustrated.

On the other hand, things are way more manageable for those with BIF. They might struggle in some aspects of their lives and be a bit slower than others, too, but they usually are able to handle the situation.

What Help Would People With Borderline Intellectual Functioning Need?

What Help Would People With Borderline Intellectual Functioning Need?

The truth is that it is not easy to determine the amount of help one might need based on their IQ level. There are so many factors besides IQ scores that separate each person from another. 

However, we have spoken to people who were diagnosed with BIF and listed the things they believed would be a big help for them. 


Individuals with BIF might be a bit slower than the rest of the people. It is crucial to give them time to process and understand the situation.

Emotional Support System

Emotional Support System

If you know someone who has been diagnosed with BIF, you need to know emotional support is the biggest thing they need. Assure them that they’re not different. They’re not left behind. Help them gain knowledge about it, and be there for them when they need you.

Educational Support

Since people with BIF might struggle more than others at school, it is crucial to provide them with individual teachers who are trained to work with those with lower IQ levels. Also, creating individualized educational plans could help them do just as well as other students.

In addition, trying to help the students find what they’re best at and encouraging them to pursue it could help, too.


Why Do Borderline Intellectual Functioning Have Been Associated With High Risk Of Mental Health Problems?

People with borderline intellectual functioning face a lot of challenges. From bad parenting to receiving little recognition and high expectations, they tend to carry a heavy weight on their shoulders every day. This leads to severe mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and a massive lack of confidence.

Unfortunately, the suicide rate in people with BIF is higher than in others. The feeling of not being good enough and worthlessness is what drives them to this tragic decision. 

That is why there needs to be a rise in knowledge when it comes to people with BIF. They are neither geniuses nor mentally disabled, so it makes it hard to diagnose them. We need to be aware of the symptoms and how to treat people with BIF.

Can People With BIF Live By Themselves?

Yes, they can. Even though doing daily tasks could be a bit challenging for those with BIF, they don’t need extra help in most cases.

However, since each person with BIF might have different needs and abilities, it is advised to consult with a mental health professional before deciding to live independently.

Last Words

I hope you have learned about the term “borderline intellectual functioning” by now.

The truth is, regardless of our IQ score, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Even at school, one might be great at mathematics but not very good at sports. Or the other way around. Even those with high IQ do struggle in specific tasks.

You need to find your strength and what you are good at and focus on it. By focusing on the things you are not good at and blaming yourself for it, you just waste your time and miss all the opportunities that are awaiting you. 

IQ scores exist to guide us and give us a general perspective of our intelligence. But an IQ score doesn’t define you. As Einstein said, everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. 

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