Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc
Support coordination is critical for finding and coordinating the
necessary services, supports and resources within the community that are
required by children and adults with intellectual and developmental
disabilities (IDD)* and their families.
People with IDD and their
families often have a hard time finding and coordinating the services,
supports and resources they need to ensure a high quality of life and
full inclusion in the community. Service systems can be complex,
challenging to navigate and are often critically underfunded.
Determining funding sources for necessary services can be extremely
In many areas of the country, resources for support coordination,
also referred to as service coordination, are limited or have
restrictive financial or diagnostic eligibility criteria. Some support
coordinators have large “caseloads” with more people than they can fully
serve. There may be high staff turnover. Support Coordinators may not
be aware of universal and natural support systems that are available to
People with IDD and their
families must have ongoing access to effective, responsive, affordable,
reliable, and culturally appropriate individual service coordination as
As support coordinators help design, coordinate, and monitor supports and services, they must:
- Follow the wishes and needs of each individual through a person-centered planning process;
- Enable people to explore a full range of options, to include
provider options, then identify and access appropriate services and
- Develop formal and informal supports (i.e., circles of support)
around the individual rather than try to fit the person into existing
services because of availability. Informal supports are natural supports
such as family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors;
- Represent and advocate for the interests, preferences and dreams of the individual and, when appropriate, the family;
- Assist individuals and families in independently coordinating their
own supports and services if they so desire, and in hiring someone of
- Be free from conflicts of interest;
- Support the development and expression of self-determination and self-advocacy; and
- Share information about desired supports and services as well as
system gaps with funders so that systems become more responsive to
people’s desires and needs.
Support coordination must be funded at a level that supports an
appropriate caseload. Support coordinators must be provided with ongoing
skills development; opportunities to build capacity through peer
networks; and equipped with up to date, unbiased knowledge of community
Board of Directors, AAIDD
July 18, 2010
Board of Directors, The Arc of the United States
August 23, 2010
Reviewed and extended without revision, 2015
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.