Skip to Content

Support Coordination

News & Policy

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 difficult.

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 all citizens.


People with IDD and their families must have ongoing access to effective, responsive, affordable, reliable, and culturally appropriate individual service coordination as needed.

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 supports;
  • 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 their choice;
  • 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 resources.


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.

Connect with AAIDD on Social Media

Join The AAIDD Email List

Annual Conference