My clinical research area of interest is health needs for adults with developmental challenges. Another word for developmental challenge is also Developmental Disability (DD). This mental health related and this aspect of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is recently experiencing a reformation using the integrated approach which includes human right, support (individualized) and services both within the community and in the hospital (Schalock, R. L., Luckasson, R. and Tassé, 2019).

By definition, Schalock, Luckasson, and Tassé, defined “intellectual disability as significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18 (Pg. 224).” The term intellectual disability and Developmental disability can be used side by side. Intellectual disability is a group of disorders attributed by limited mental capacity evident by an individual finding it difficult to adapt to every day life such as managing money, schedules and routine or even social interaction. This intellectual disability may be as a result of physical etiology such as autism, cerebral palsy or nonphysical such as lack of stimulation. On the other hand, Developmental disability is severe and is a long-term disability which affects cognitive ability of the individual. This long-term disability includes both intellectual disability and physical disabilities. “Some developmental disabilities may be solely physical, such as blindness from birth. Others involve both physical and intellectual disabilities stemming from genetic or other causes, such as Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome (National Institute of Health, 2020).”

In my research, I will be discussing both terminologies at the same time in the form of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD)

This area of interest caught my attention especially when I got the privilege to work with these individuals as a caregiver before I became a nurse. We would assist them with activities of daily living, doctor’s appointment, managing money and general routine and activities. It is a very challenging task to work with these individual especially if one is not used to their type of population. I have come to realize that most often than not, one major piece that is lacking is the medical aspect. Most times these individuals are caught up in the web of the care givers, providers (NP, Doctors, Nurses, Health insurance) and family. This can result to a vital medical piece of information being missing and hence leading to hospitalization and admission and eventually, re-hospitalization again. It then poses the question: How do we understand their medical needs? What is the best approach for individuals diagnosed with mental health to enable them to live in the community without frequent hospitalization?

            In my interview with a director of Nursing who heads the Nursing Department at a non-governmental Healthcare facility, whose mission is to assist individuals with IDD, she did state that “these individuals are at risk of encountering health problems, when their medical needs are not met hence leading up to being hospitalized over and over again. From history, it is not uncommon for individuals with disabilities to be institutionalized because of lack of treatment.”

I am interested in writing this paper because I want to have an in-depth  understanding of the challenges of a developmentally challenged individual, Identify the major health needs for adult with developmental challenges, Keep the developmental challenged in the community as long as possible and maintain a healthy life style while living in the community.

According to Arora, S. et al, 2020 “Children with intellectual disability frequently have significant, social and healthcare needs.” Now as healthcare provider, the question is what is my role? And how can we identify the health needs for adults with developmental challenges? The purpose of this research is to reduce frequent hospitalization.




Arora, S., Goodall, S., Viney, R., & Einfeld, S. (2020). Health‐related quality of life amongst primary caregivers of children with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research64(2), 103–116.

Durbin, A., Balogh, R., Lin, E., Wilton, A. S., Selick, A., Dobranowski, K. M., & Lunsky, Y. (2019). Repeat Emergency Department Visits for Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Psychiatric Disorders. American Journal on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, 124(3), 206–219.

National Institute of Health (2020). Intellectual and developmental disabilities. Retrieved from

Schalock, R. L., Luckasson, R., & Tassé, M. J. (2019). The contemporary view of intellectual and developmental disabilities: Implications for psychologists. Psicothema, 31(3), 223–228.

Strand, L. I., Gundrosen, K. F., Lein, R. K., Laekeman, M., Lobbezoo, F., Defrin, R., & Husebo, B. S. (2019). Body movements as pain indicators in older people with cognitive impairment: A systematic review. European Journal of Pain, 23(4), 669–685.


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