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Nicole Cadovius

Director of Practice Improvement

Moving the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Community Forward

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Earlier this month, we joined in the national recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, where we celebrated the social changes of deinstitutionalization in the 70s and 80s and took a closer look at the impact today.

In the past 30 years, legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004, have paved the way for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live a more fulfilling life. These acts have led to early interventions and support through secondary education, as well as efforts to address work-place discrimination.

Community behavioral health care organizations are also making a mark. With a focus on person-centered practices, providers are delivering supports to individuals with IDD to foster independence and skill development in employment, life skills and full participation in community life. And thanks to advances in health care, individuals with IDD are living longer and reaching retirement age.

Generally speaking, this specific aging population shows symptoms of aging years earlier than that of the general population. As such, we have an opportunity to explore modifying our different existing aging supports. For example, competency screening for falls, dementia, functional declines and providing supports for healthy aging. Addressing these opportunities starts with a conversation.

It was thrilling to have a number of IDD Interest Group participants join us for an interactive forum last month, as we discussed current trends in the field. Jeanne Farr, CEO of the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed, led the discussion alongside Michael Hammond, vice president of Optum Health. Together, we learned about current national trends in the IDD space. Learn more.

Join us in April for another forum, where we will invite the Older Adults Interest Group to participate in a discussion about individuals with IDD who are aging and facing substance use issues.

Eager to learn more about our Interest Group initiative? Want to join our Group? Contact Nicole Cadovius, the Group lead and director of the Geriatric Technical Assistance Center.