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, involves differences in a person’s intellectual functioning as well as limitations in social and practical daily life skills. These symptoms are usually present at birth or appear at an early age and are considered to be life-long.

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

Tips for Safely Assisting with Medication Usage

Many staff and family members are called upon to assist people with taking their medications. Medications have many useful benefits. It is vital to ensure that they are used safely and to monitor for any adverse effects to help people receive the most benefit with the least risk. Download this pdf for some important safety tips.

Always refer to the policies and guidelines of your agency and state.

Pressure Injuries in People with IDD

Some people with IDD may have physical or communication differences that make them more susceptible to skin pressure injuries. The information in this 15 page pdf pamphlet is presented to help supporters understand, identify, and prevent pressure injuries in people with IDD.

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.

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 fillable pdf 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

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Employing People with IDD as a Way to Help with the Hiring Crisis In this article, we explore successful strategies for recruiting and retaining people with IDD in the workforce and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. According to a March 2022 report[1] from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment–population ratio—the percentage of the population that is employed—for people with a disability was only 19.1 percent in 2021, compared to 63.7 percent for people who do not have a disability. Sadly, the same report showed this rate has remained largely unchanged over the past 10 years. And for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), finding and retaining employment can be even more challenging. Best Buddies,[2] an organization that matches skilled and qualified individuals with businesses seeking enthusiastic and dedicated employees, estimates up to 81% of adults (18+) with
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American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding Opportunities The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is affording state agencies and providers of home and community-based supports and services a rare opportunity to implement changes that will benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) for years to come. With many avenues available to effectively utilize these funds including much-needed financial incentives for workforce support, careful attention should
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The Great Outdoors! Warm Weather Tips and Precautions

As we move into the warmer months, we are all but assured to be spending more time outside. Taking measures to ensure a safe experience will help ensure an enjoyable experience with minimal discomfort for everyone.
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When we educate clinicians, we save lives

Physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, registered nurses, and other clinicians now have an opportunity that they’ve never had before. It’s an opportunity to learn immediately usable, practical clinical information that will improve their clinical skills in one course. It teaches fundamental principles that weren’t taught in school that translate to better healthcare for millions of people. This curriculum course imparts
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The National Council on Disability Health Equity Framework: Four Actionable Steps to Better Health for People with Disabilities

On February 14, 2022, the National Council on Disability (NCD) issued the Health Equity Framework. Within the framework is a call to action involving an "all-of-government approach to comprehensively address the health needs of the over 64 million people with disabilities in this country and in our territories...
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Reflections on Health Equity for People with IDD

Health equity occurs when all people have the opportunity to experience the best possible health, quality of life, lifespan expectations and access to health care and health related social supports. Eliminating barriers to health equity allows people with IDD to participate fully in all aspects of community life...
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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
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