Current Developmental Disorders Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 165–196 | Cite as

Examining Wellness in Children and Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: a Scoping Review

  • Yani HamdaniEmail author
  • Tamara Yee
  • Emily Rowland
  • Amy C. McPherson
Intellectual Disability (Y Lunsky, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Intellectual Disability


Purpose of Review

This review explored the literature on wellness in children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). We asked the following: (1) how is wellness conceptualized?; (2) what contributes to a sense of wellness?; (3) what is the current state of wellness research for this population?; and (4) what recommendations are there for clinical practice?

Recent Findings

Wellness has been conceptualized as having multiple, overlapping dimensions (e.g., physical, psychological), which can contribute to an overarching sense of wellness when combined and balanced. Most of the wellness literature on children and youth with IDD focus on particular aspects of wellness (e.g., physical activity).


Thirty-seven wellness articles related to children and youth with IDD were identified. Only two defined wellness. Most focused on physical wellness while others addressed multiple wellness dimensions, but none examined wellness comprehensively. Further research can explore what wellness interventions are relevant to children and youth themselves.


Wellness Wellbeing Health promotion Intellectual and developmental disabilities Children Youth 



We sincerely thank our partners Special Olympics Canada and Special Olympics Ontario for supporting this work. YH and TY were supported by Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yani Hamdani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tamara Yee
    • 3
  • Emily Rowland
    • 2
  • Amy C. McPherson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Bloorview Research InstituteHolland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Cumming School of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Rehabilitation Sciences InstituteUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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