Intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are a group of disabilities that begin at birth or in childhood that can affect a person’s intellectual, physical and emotional development. People with IDDs can have problems with both intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviors, which are everyday life skills like self-care, communication and social interaction.
People can have mild, moderate or severe IDDs. The most common causes are genetics, problems during pregnancy or childbirth, and childhood illness – but the cause of IDD is unknown in most cases.
The abilities of people with IDDs can vary greatly. About 85 percent of people with IDDs have a mild form and can succeed in school and work. However, in more severe cases, they may only be able to communicate on a basic level.
People with IDDs can form strong personal connections like anyone else, but many people feel nervous about or don’t know how to approach them. When you do take the time to connect with a person with IDD, you’ll likely have a rewarding experience.
If you’re ready to connect with people with IDDs, read our Approachability fact sheet for tips on how to start a conversation, and check out the IDD nonprofits in our area.