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Artwork provided by NACDD, by artist Calvin “Sonny” Clarke.

As we celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Awareness, let’s be sure to reflect on what we can each do to continue and improve on the progress that has been made to promote health equity for people with IDD.


Reflections on Health Equity for People with IDD

By Lorene Reagan, RN, MS

Director of Public Relations, IntellectAbility 

March 2022 is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month -- a perfect time to reflect on how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go-to achieve health equity for people with IDD. 


Health equity occurs when all people have the opportunity to experience the best possible health, quality of life, lifespan expectations, and access to health care and health-related social supports.  Eliminating barriers to health equity allows people with IDD to participate fully in all aspects of community life, realize their dreams, and mitigate the impacts of poor health and chronic disease burden. 


History of Health Equity for People with IDD

Historically, people with IDD have faced significant barriers to health equity.  These barriers stem from many sources, including early ideas about the “medical model of disability,” which was predicated on the assumption that people with disabilities were sick, experienced poor quality of life, and needed medical intervention to “cure” them.  


While we have made progress in moving away from the medical model, people with IDD are still at risk for bias and stereotypes that perpetuate the perception that they experience poor quality of life and, as a result, may not be treated equally by the health care community. This is evidenced by the need for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, to issue guidance in February 2022, citing the continuing public health emergency and reminding providers that resource scarcity must not prevent individuals with disabilities from receiving needed health care or treatment.

“Social Model of Disability”

Next came the “social model of disability” emerging from the work of the World Health Organization (WHO), which separated the idea of disability from the concept of impairment and emphasizes inclusion of all people in all aspects of society, regardless of differences in everyday functioning.  


Click here to read the full article.

Lorene discusses more recent models of care such as Disability-Competent Care (DCC), the current state of health equity, and three key approaches that could truly make a difference.


Upcoming Conferences

March 7-9th, 2022: South Carolina Human Service Providers     
IntellectAbility’s Person-Centered Services Mentor, Patrick Lane, will deliver 
a presentation entitled “Using Discovery Skills to Negotiate Great Support Means Better Lives” on the 7th.

March 17th, 2022: National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel
Annual Conference
Dr. Craig Escudé will be presenting on “Skin Pressure Injuries in People with IDD,” referencing the new informational document created by IntellectAbility in Partnership with the NPIAP.


Download the Skin Pressure Injuries Infosheet


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IntellectAbility | 25400 US Highway 19 N Ste 197, Clearwater, FL 33763