Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Historically, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have experienced health disparities related to several factors including: a lack of access to high quality medical care, inadequate preparation of health care providers to meet their needs, the social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, race and gender), and the failure to include people with IDD in public health efforts and other prevention activities. Over the past decade, a greater effort has been made to both identify and begin to address myriad health disparities experienced by people with IDD through a variety of activities including programs that address health lifestyles and greater attention to the training of health care providers. Gaps in the literature include the lack of intervention trials, replications of successful approaches, and data that allow for better comparisons between people with IDD and without IDD living in the same communities. Implications for future research needed to reduce health disparities for people with IDD include: better monitoring and treatment for chronic conditions common in the general population that are also experienced by people with IDD, an enhanced understanding of how to promote health among those in the IDD population who are aging, addressing the health needs of people with IDD who are not part of the disability service system, developing a better understanding of how to include people with IDD in health and wellness programs, and improving methods for addressing the health care needs of members of this group in an efficient and cost-effective manner, either through better access to general medical care or specialized programs.