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

Long-haul COVID in People with IDD

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at a greater risk of infection and poorer COVID-19 related health outcomes than the general population. Prevalence of comorbidities, living in congregate settings, and difficulties practicing preventative measures contribute to this risk; however, the inability to effectively communicate symptoms of illness may be the most significant hurdle to identifying and managing symptoms of COVID-19 infection, especially for those experiencing the lasting effects of long-haul COVID.

Download our six-page informational packet on long-haul COVID signs and symptoms in people with IDD.

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

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

Please, May I Have More Data?

By Lorene Reagan Director of Public Relations, IntellectAbility Rate-setting considerations for long-term services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most actuaries working in the Medicaid space are well acquainted with the acute care rate-setting process. But many may not be familiar with rate setting for Medicaid long-term support and services (LTSS), Home and community-based services (HCBS) for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), or the data sources available to inform the rate-setting process. This article introduces the IDD population, their support needs, the most used HCBS services, and the tools that can be used to inform support needs and the IDD-HCBS rate setting process. Medicaid is the largest funder of LTSS in the U.S. All 50 states and the District of Columbia provide services funded by one or more Medicaid HCBS Waivers, specifically designed to “waive”
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Achieving Educational Equity in Universities With Person-Centered Thinking Training

Learn how person-centered training can help students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Josie was a 19-year-old student at a local university. She was known for her positive attitude, kind heart, and school spirit. So much so that she had a few pairs of colorful glasses to match her socks and gameday jerseys. Connecting with her sorority sisters and being a
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Missed Diagnosis: How Many Times Have You Seen This Happen?

Jerome is 22 years old. He enjoys NASCAR racing, going to the beach, and eating out at restaurants. He works 12 hours per week at a local grocery store and, in his leisure time, likes to watch sports on TV with his dad and brothers. Jerome uses a wheelchair and requires assistance with activities of daily living, including eating, dressing,
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Ensuring Equitable Healthcare for People with IDD is not the “Medical Model”

By Craig Escude, MD, FAAFP, FAADM This article was originally published in Helen: The Journal of Human Exceptionality, a publication of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. We invite you to subscribe by visiting their site. Let’s Get Something Straight: Ensuring Equitable Healthcare for People with IDD is not the “Medical Model!” The “Medical Model” is a term
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Attaining Disability Competent Healthcare

By Craig Escudé, MD, FAAFP, FAADM Have you ever accompanied someone with an intellectual disability to a medical appointment due to a new, concerning behavior, only to be told by the clinician that they are doing this just because of their disability? That’s diagnostic overshadowing- a term that describes when clinicians attribute a new or untoward behavior to the fact
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People with IDD at Risk-The June 2022 Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert

Juanita is a 53-year-old woman. She has a long history of anxiety and depression. Juanita also has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and lives in a community residence for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD).    For the past couple of days, Juanita has been experiencing increased anxiety. She tells her supporters she feels more tired than usual, has a poor
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Employing People with IDD as a Way to Help with the Hiring Crisis

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
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