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.

Assessments

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

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.

CLICK TO 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.

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.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD.

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

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.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

 

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.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PDF

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!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD (ENGLISH)

DESCARGAR (SPANISH)

ჩამოტვირთვა (GEORGIAN)

 

Download this informational pdf for helpful information on the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety and loneliness in people with IDD and things you can do to alleviate and provide effective support.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Download this important informational pdf on the COVID-19 Vaccination. It contains useful facts for you and the people with disabilities you support. Created in partnership with Irwin Siegel Agency on 1/14/2021.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Our Clinical Advisory Team has developed an assessment to help you balance what is important TO and FOR the person in terms of returning to activities. This document is a person-centered guide to help ensure you take as many factors as possible into account when supporting people in making these decisions.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

This 3-page document details how to perform a mealtime pulse oximetry study to assist in identifying aspiration during or after eating.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

This document assists in gathering important clinical information after a person experiences a hospital stay, emergency department visit, or other facility stay.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

This 10-page document describes commonly seen medication effects by drug class and how they may appear in people with IDD.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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

Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities

Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities Written by Craig Escudé, MD FAAFP, FAADM, September 2023. Dementia can be a pretty scary thing for anyone. For people with disabilities, changes or a decline in cognitive functioning can be quite challenging to recognize, especially in people who do not use words to communicate. When we are looking to diagnose dementia, clinicians frequently use tests like a mental status exam where a person is asked to remember lists of items, draw a picture of a clock with numbers on it, and recall current events like naming the current president and the city and state where they live. For some with disabilities, questions like these may not have ever been able to be successfully answered due to a different baseline of knowledge and comprehension. So how, then, can we attempt to accurately diagnose dementia in people
Read More >

Filter By:

How Healthcare Technology Shapes the Lives of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

How Healthcare Technology Shapes the Lives of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Written by Dr. Craig Escudé People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience numerous challenges accessing healthcare and receiving services and supports that result in poorer overall health, lower life expectancies, and reduced possibilities to live a full life of their choosing. Technological advances are facilitating earlier
Read More >

Unlocking Behaviors: Gastrointestinal Distress

Unlocking Behaviors: Gastrointestinal Distress Co-written by Risley “Ley” Linder, MA, MED, BCBA & Craig Escudé, MD, FAAFP, FAADM This article is part of a co-authored series on behavioral presentations in which a physician and a behavior analyst provide insight into real-life case studies to share their expertise on how behavioral issues can be addressed in an interdisciplinary fashion. Rick is
Read More >

Bullying: How You Can Take Action To Identify, Address and Prevent This Destructive Behavior

Written by Lorene Reagan, RN, MSPublished in the August 2023 edition of EP (Exceptional Parent) Magazine. Sign up for this newsletter for free! As we prepare to return to school, it is critical to ensure all children, including those with disabilities, are in an environment where they can learn, grow, and socialize without fear. This article describes bullying, its consequences,
Read More >

Unlocking Behaviors: Dental Health

Unlocking Behaviors: Dental Health Co-written by Risley “Ley” Linder, MA, MED, BCBA & Craig Escudé, MD, FAAFP, FAADMPublished by Helen Journal This article is part of a co-authored series on behavioral presentations in which a physician and a behavior analyst provide insight into real-life case studies to share their expertise on how behavioral issues can be addressed in an interdisciplinary fashion.
Read More >

Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare that are Important Knowledge for DSPs

Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare that are Important Knowledge for DSPs As co-published by National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL) in the Frontline Initiative. By Craig Escudé, MD, FAAFP, FAADM, President of IntellectAbility  I started practicing in the field of healthcare for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in
Read More >

Identifying Hearing and Vision Changes

Identifying Vision and Hearing Changes in People with IDD as They Age AS MOST OF THIS AGE, WE BEGIN TO EXPERIENCE CHANGES IN OUR VISION AND HEARING.  I  7.5 MIN   Written by Craig Escudé, MD, FAAFP, FAADM As most of this age, we begin to experience changes in our vision and hearing. We commonly associate aging with difficulty seeing closer and
Read More >