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Awareness Of I/DD

Sep 21

Answers, data, and more on the topic of people with intellectual and developmental impairments.

There are millions of people with I/DD and a lot to learn, so having a solid foundation is crucial. First, let's get down to brass tacks.

The terms "intellectual and/or developmental deficits" and "activist" might be confusing to families whose children have just been diagnosed.

I/DD individuals may and do have rich and rewarding lives.


Helping Hands and Jargon

People may have both intellectual and developmental disabilities, although there has been considerable misunderstanding in the past regarding how to use the terms interchangeably. The term "developmental disability" (or "DD") is often used to refer to a broad variety of conditions. Though the shorter and more common "I/DD" simplifies things, it is not surprising that "DD" is still extensively used by certain organizations; it does not necessarily rule out intellectual impairment.


To what extent does a person's intelligence need to be questioned in order to diagnose an intellectual impairment (ID)?

Intellectual disability (ID) is characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (mental capacity, learning, etc.) and adaptive behaviors; specific ID designations vary by state (conceptual, practical, and social skills typically learned from an early age).


Please explain what exactly constitutes a developmental disability (DD).

Though intellectual impairment is often included in state-by-state classifications, physical issues that are either present at birth or manifest themselves later in life are often considered developmental disabilities.


What kind of support are there for those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities?

Medicaid waivers may help cover the costs of professional I/DD treatments and supports, and there are also disorder-specific organizations and support groups available. By establishing contact with a wide range of them, individuals and families will be better able to "connect the dots" between resources, learning, and social interaction.


The I/DD Disorders

Intellectual and developmental difficulties may be caused by any of the following medical conditions:

  • A person with down syndrome is one who has been diagnosed with the disorder before birth.
  • The incapacity to control one's emotions is one of the symptoms of Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS)
  • Autism
  • Traumatic brain injury is the abbreviation often used to refer to this condition.
  • The brain is the site of the damage that causes cerebral palsy.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a disorder caused by prenatal exposure to
  • For those unfamiliar, Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is a genetic condition that mostly impacts


When you interact with governmental institutions, are you recognized?

Do you have an idea of the range of services on offer?

It is estimated that there are 7.3 million people living in the United States who have intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, only around 20% of these people are familiar with or have sought treatment from state agencies (source: Larson et al, 2018). A low number, you say? Meanwhile, the number of people receiving assisted assistance continues to climb. This has occurred as a result of a greater availability of funding and a greater understanding of the need of providing support for our I/DD community. However, it is essential to apply as soon as possible, since waiting lists for Medicaid services are common.