Health Care Providers
Every health care provider should be trained to care for people with intellectual disabilities and do their part to ensure equitable access to quality health care for patients with intellectual disabilities
Healthcare Professionals Lede - Smiling and Taking a Break from Health Screenings at the IX MENA Games in Abu Dhabi, 2018
The Problem
Through inclusive health education, we can improve physicians’ exposure to patients with intellectual disability during medical training, an essential step towards providing quality care for people with intellectual disability.
Darryl L. Kaelin, MD, President, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Professor and Division Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Louisville
What You Can Do About It
Health care providers can promote inclusive health, the inclusion of people intellectual disabilities in mainstream health services, training programs, and research, by improving their competency in caring for patients with intellectual disabilities through education and advocacy.
Advocate for inclusion in health care delivery

Advocate for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in health care delivery in your field

Seek out continuing education

Seek out continuing education on disability and health topics, including communication strategies

Obtain hands on experience

Obtain experience with patients with intellectual disabilities, both in clinical and non-clinical settings

Advocate for curriculum changes

Advocate for curriculum changes in academic training programs to include training on serving patients with intellectual disabilities and other disabilities throughout the lifespan

Partner with disability organizations

Partner with disability organizations to learn more about the respectful inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in health care services and in training programs

Encourage adoption of resolutions or policy statements

Encourage professional associations to adopt resolutions or policy statements endorsing the importance of addressing health disparities experienced by children and adults with intellectual disabilities

Advocate for population of focus

Advocate for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities as a population of focus within your professional organization

Advocate for medically underserved designation

Advocate for the medically underserved population designation for people with intellectual disabilities

Advocate for appropriate reimbursement

Advocate for appropriate reimbursement to reflect the requisite additional time and skills needed to provide quality health care to people with intellectual disabilities

Network with other health care providers

Talk to other health care providers about the importance of inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Featured Resources
Ensure the full and sustainable inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in health policies and laws, programming, services, training programs, research, and funding streams.
Anita Lesko is a nurse anesthetist and a champion for people living with autism spectrum disorder. Here are her tips for communicating with people with ID.
Learn how Special Olympics Arkansas trained dental professionals to provide inclusive care.
People with ID face significant health disparities not directly caused by their disability.
This form will help your health team learn about you and serve you better. People with ID can complete this form and bring it to their next health appointment or meeting with fitness or wellness instructors.
A presentation from Dr. Tamsen Bassford of the Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
Clinicians caring for youth with ID should be aware of the sport opportunities for this population and the health initiatives of Special Olympics.
This overview provides a background on sources of health care coverage for people with ID and where they receive services.
Self-Advocate Renee Manfredi from Special Olympics Hawai’i spoke to doctors and other healthcare providers in September 2019 about what they can do to give people with ID the quality health care they deserve.
Meeting the health needs of people with ID would lower health care costs and ensure social justice
This tool kit encourages schools, child care programs, out-of-school programs, and health care practices to increase healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for ALL children.
Learn about the steps being taken to educate health professional students about the challenges that come with medical care of people with ID.
Learn how the University of Louisville incorporated the voices of people with ID in its curriculum.
Learn how the University of Colorado implemented an intellectual and developmental disabilities curriculum for medical students.