All young children who are at-risk for or who have been identified with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)* should have access to high-quality, affordable developmental services in natural environments. These services should build on the strengths of the child and family, address their needs, be responsive to their culture and personal priorities, and be delivered through research-based practices.
Access to and quality of intensive intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities remains inadequate, despite a validated knowledge-base that establishes its critical importance. Early intervention services are inconsistent at the state and local level. Often such services are neither appropriate, nor well-timed, nor sufficient in intensity and quality to promote positive development or to prevent secondary conditions. Many children at risk for developmental disabilities due to environmental and/or biological factors are not identified in a timely fashion. Major barriers include inadequate funding and service systems which do not accommodate the needs of families.
Early childhood services must be strengthened at the national, state, and local level. Screening and early identification must be readily available in the community and widely publicized through awareness campaigns and local child-find initiatives. Early childhood services should enhance the overall well-being and development of children who have or are “at risk” for developmental disabilities. Early childhood services should also provide family support that:
The Arc of the United States and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities supports universal access to high quality, research-based, family-centered early childhood services for all children, between birth and five years at risk for development.
Board of Directors, AAIDD
August 18, 2008
Board of Directors, The Arc of the United States
August 4, 2008
Congress of Delegates, The Arc of the United States
November 8, 2008
Reviewed and extended without revision, 2013
Intellectual Disability (ID) is a lifelong condition where significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior emerge during the developmental period (before adulthood).
Developmental Disabilities (DD), first defined in 1975 federal legislation now known as “The DD Act,”, are a group of lifelong conditions that emerge during the developmental period and result in some level of functional limitation in learning, language, communication, cognition, behavior, socialization, or mobility. The most common DD conditions are intellectual disability, Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, fetal alcohol syndrome, and fragile X syndrome.
The acronym “IDD” is used to describe a group that includes either people with both ID and another DD or a group that includes people with ID or another DD. The supports that people with IDD need to meet their goals vary in intensity from intermittent to pervasive.
Join The AAIDD Email List