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Adults with intellectual or other developmental disabilities often face barriers to good health care. Many primary care providers do not have much experience treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). There may be physical barriers to receiving care, such as examining tables that don’t lower completely for those in wheelchairs. Or they may have problems finding transportation. Some individuals have difficulties explaining their symptoms or expressing pain, so determining the presence of an illness or injury can be more difficult.
Preventive care and health promotion is often not targeted to this group of individuals. Many adults with developmental disabilities have complex or difficult-to-treat medical conditions. They may require multiple medications. They are also at higher risk of behavioral and mental health concerns. They may also face financial issues, since many adults with developmental disabilities are unable to find employment or are underemployed. This resource will explain ways that medical professionals can better care for people with developmental disabilities.
Individuals with developmental disabilities are 4 to 10 times more likely to be victims of crime than those without disabilities. Abuse and neglect often go unreported because individuals are either unable to report or unwilling to report for fear of losing needed support or their place to live. Research has found, among adults, as many as 83% of females and 32% of males are the victims of sexual assault in their lives.
The IDD Toolkit website offers health care information for primary care physicians and nurses to provide improved care to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Checklists and disability-specific tables may help guide medical treatments and preventive care. Sections address informed consent and behavioral and mental health concerns, including crisis management and prevention. With funding from the Special Hope Foundation, Palo Alto, CA, the IDD Toolkit was adapted for U.S. use based on Tools for the Primary Care of People with Developmental Disabilities (Surrey Place, 2011).
These question-and-answer modules are designed to teach more about the adult phase of health and health care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including common health issues for adults with ID; socio-cultural influences on health of adults with ID; and self-determination and person-centered care as essential elements of health promotion and healthcare.
This free, 12 credit-hour webinar series is designed to enhance the practice skills of primary care physicians and residents who would like to provide better care to their adult patients with developmental disabilities. Developed by the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.
The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities offers a series of factsheets and materials that are aimed at helping patients with IDD understand their health care needs.
This resource created by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center