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Health and Health Service Use of Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

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In this paper, we explore the health and health service use of youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), with a focus on two specific subgroups: youth and young adults with Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Young people with IDD are more likely to develop health problems (e.g., chronic disease and mental illness) than their peers without IDD as they age and require access to complex, coordinated care. The literature indicates that their patterns of health service use tend to shift from community and outpatient care in childhood toward more hospital-based, emergency, and long-term care in adulthood. We highlight some unique issues with respect to understanding the health and health service use of this population, and discuss the implications for health care practice, policy and planning, and further research.

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This work was done as part of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program. We gratefully acknowledge the Province of Ontario for their support of this paper through their research grants program. The opinions, results and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect that of the Province.

Yani Hamdani was supported by a CAMH Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Yani Hamdani.

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Yani Hamdani and Yona Lunsky declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Intellectual Disability

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Hamdani, Y., Lunsky, Y. Health and Health Service Use of Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Curr Dev Disord Rep 3, 97–103 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-016-0082-x

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  • Health
  • Health service utilization
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Down syndrome
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Youth
  • Young adult
  • Review