General Medical Care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

  • Joav Merrick
  • Mohammed Morad


In the past, most individuals with intellectual disability (ID) died at a young age due to their additional medical problems, congenital malformations, and infections, but today an increasing number of these children live into adulthood and we see the first generation of aging people with intellectual disability. This trend has resulted in not only pediatricians but also now adult physicians involved in the management of this population. Older people with ID have the same needs as other older people do, and they are subject to the same age-related impairments and illnesses. Moreover, because many disabled individuals live together with their families, the burden is double because the family members are also aging and, with time, will not be able to continue their caregiving. Medical needs from pediatric to adult care can be met by enrollment in universal health care or programs. Periodic health assessments and health care should be normalized and provided as an overall system of supports when needed or as assistance provided for the adequate self-directed use of general or specialty health services. Risk assessments and health reviews should be part of the individual’s life plan and provided to detect diseases and conditions that could compromise longevity. This field of medicine also needs to evaluate the applicability of a new discipline of life span developmental medicine to lead in interdisciplinary care, health-care education, service delivery, and research for people with intellectual disability within an academic framework.


Cerebral Palsy Down Syndrome Intellectual Disability Intellectual Disability Residential Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Health Services, Division for Mental RetardationMinistry of Social Affairs and Social ServicesJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Health Services, Division for Mental RetardationMinistry of Social Affairs, National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesBen Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  5. 5.Clalit Health ServicesBeer-ShevaIsrael

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