To help assist you in your goal of providing meaningful and effective intellectual disability services, we’ve gathered insight on some of the best tools, approaches, and practices.

We hope the following documentation will help you in understanding intellectual disability and how a person-centered approach to health and wellness can make all of the difference in supporting those with IDD.

Diagnosing intellectual disability is just the start of providing adequate support. IDD services help address the unique needs of these individuals, with data-driven tools that allow those with IDD to live more productive and more independent lives.

What Does IDD Stand For?

An IDD, or intellectual-developmental disability, is a type of disorder that includes exhibiting lower than average intelligence scores and deficits in life skill capabilities. Most individuals in this vulnerable population will exhibit symptoms early in life.

Cardiologist listens to the heart of a child with Down syndrome, the concept of health and medical examination of children with special needs
Interesting Facts About Intellectual Disabilities

There are a lot of misconceptions about those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To help spread awareness, we’ve compiled some facts to help set the record straight.

two ladies playing with dog


  • In the United States, a conservative estimate is that 4.6 million people in the US have been diagnosed with a disability. Some studies indicate that the number is much higher. 

  • To date, we’ve discovered more than 250 different causes of intellectual disabilities.

  • Genetics are behind IDDs in just 25% of cases.

  • Among adults with intellectual disabilities, 92% live independently or with family members.

Having an intellectual or developmental disability doesn’t mean that someone is unable to live a full life. What it does mean however is that specialized support is often required, including a person-centered thinking approach that allows those with IDD to have a voice in their support decisions.

In addition to offering tools for the support of people with IDD—including the widely used Health Risk Screening Tool —we’re proud to contribute to the discourse with articles and resources that provide key insights on ensuring people with an intellectual disability receive the best support and healthcare possible.


An assessment is crucial in diagnosing and serving the needs of individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Diagnostic Assessments

A diagnostic assessment is designed to define an individual with IDD’s specific needs, including both their limitations and their strengths. This assessment is the foundation for providing all affected individuals with the proper level of support.

Service Assessments

Service assessments take the diagnostic assessment a step further by providing the information that’s essential for personalized support. These include health recommendations based on an individual’s specific risk factors and qualifications.

Free Downloadable Resources

The Great Outdoors - Cold Weather Edition

Outdoor activities are an important part of life. Here is an informational pdf containing helpful data for you and the people you support with disabilities to consider to make the great outdoors more enjoyable for all during the colder weather months.

The Great Outdoors - Warm Weather Edition

Outdoor activities are an important part of life. Here is an informational pdf containing helpful data for you and the people you support with disabilities to consider to make the great outdoors more enjoyable for all during the warmer weather months.

Clinical Pearl #30 - Down Syndrome

Click to download this free pdf of Clinical Pearl #30: Down Syndrome from “Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare” to help provide better healthcare to those you support. Share it with providers and clinicians.

Click here to purchase the book “Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare”. 

HRST Health Passport

Besides providing basic health information, this document can be utilized to convey important social information that facilitates knowing and understanding a person.

Download this fillable PDF and start using it today!

IntellectAbility Articles

Three Reasons to Train Staff on the Fatal Five Using eLearn

Dr. Craig Escudé was recently asked to give three reasons why states and agencies should consider using eLearn training on the Fatal Five to train their support staff. The first reason is simply because it’s not common knowledge. We aren’t born with the ability to recognize health destabilization, and particularly in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who communicate differently and not always using words. It can be very challenging to see the early signs of things like an aspiration pneumonia condition developing or constipation that could turn into bowel obstruction that could lead to hospitalization or sepsis or seizures or dehydration, or even gastroesophageal reflux disease. We simply don’t have this knowledge. And the only way we can get it is if we receive training and eLearn training is efficient and a very good way to impart this knowledge
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Where did all the water go? Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in, resulting in insufficient water and other fluids to perform normal functions. Severe dehydration can lead to changes in the body’s chemistry and kidney failure which may be life-threatening. This article will focus on issues that can be recognized by direct support professionals
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New Tool Determines Health Risks of Social Interactions for People with IDD

New Tool Determines Health Risks of Social Interactions for People with IDD   As social isolation measures continue, people who live with IDD are more likely to experience serious problems like loneliness or even abuse or neglect. A new tool from Health Risk Screening, Inc. helps weigh the benefits of social interaction vs. the risks of COVID-19 exposure for these
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How to Help Loved Ones with Intellectual Disabilities with “Behaviors”

By Dr. Craig Escudé If someone you know with intellectual disabilities has behaviors, they’re normal. Everyone has behaviors. When I’m in pain, I might squint my eyes, grimace and curl up in a ball, or I might scream and yell out causing alarm and anxiety to those around me. If my head hurts, I can get grumpy and want to
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Making Friends Using Person-Centered Practices

By Patrick Lane One of the best things about being a person is having friends. Some of us have a lot and others have a few, but we all need friends. Yet so many of the people we support have lives marked with loneliness and isolation. Often anxiety, depression, overreactions, and even health risks are rooted in not having at
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Down Syndrome and How You Can Help

  About Down Syndrome Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21 or Down’s, is a condition in which a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This extra chromosome causes a wide range of different abilities, including both mental and physical challenges. According to the CDC, some common physical features of Down Syndrome include a flattened face, a short neck,
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Direct Support Professionals | Dynamic, Selfless, & Passionate

  By Hilary Gaytan – Former DSP, QIDP   |   Business Development Rep. IntellectAbility I think you could argue that DSPs are some of the most talented people in the world. (And I say that not just because I used to be one!) What other career requires you to wear as many hats? At any given moment on a shift you
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