For immediate release
Contact: Michele Robinson
New Professional Resource Establishes Ground-breaking Paradigm To Support People with Intellectual Disabilities
Washington, DC (September 14, 2009)--Society’s labels have consequences. A bad credit score means you pay more for a loan. Careless driving that translates into several points on your license labels you a risky driver. But no label damages more than being called “mentally retarded.”
Setting aside that label and establishing the means to integrate people with intellectual disability into society based on their abilities rather than their deficits are the fundamental objectives of a new resource for professionals working with people with intellectualdisabilities. The new resource, the 11th edition of Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification and Systems of Supports
, known in the field as the “Definition Manual” is published by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).
“We understand that people with intellectual disabilities face enough challenges every day that they don’t need to deal with a pejorative label. And as medical, educational and legal professionals, we know that mental intellectual disability is far more complex than a low score on an IQ test,” said AAIDD president Joanna Pierson, PhD, Executive Director of The Arc of Frederick County, MD. “The definition manual represents the most current thinking on how professionals should approach those with intellectual disabilities and offers tools and strategies to implement progressive services and strategies in various settings such as schools, provider agencies, and the policy world.”
AAIDD is committed to setting aside labels and instead focus on creating and supporting the services people with intellectual disability need to function fully in our society. AAIDD is committed to including the people with intellectual disability within every aspect of our lives whether they ride the bus with us, work in the same offices or play with our children.
To this end, the 11th edition establishes an advanced paradigm that professionals will use when evaluating and delivering the support services that a person with intellectual disability needs at school, at home, in the physician’s office or the courts, if the need arises. Rather than look at individual deficits, this model is based on evaluating the support services someone needs to reduce the mismatch between a person’s capabilities and skills so that they can participate fully in all aspects of daily life.
Uniform criteria are included in the 11th edition that should be used to diagnose intellectual disability, including a combination of age of onset, IQ, and adaptive behavior skills. Several states now use different standards, ranging from IQ scores to a combination of IQ and certain skills.. The 11th edition also contains the latest thinking, tools and strategies to diagnose whether a person has intellectual disability or not. The 11th edition is designed to be an invaluable resource for many professionals, including:
• Physicians may consult the guidelines to more precisely diagnosis a child or adult, such as evaluating the role of IQ in making a diagnosis and assessing how the individual is adapting to life’s challenges and opportunities.
• Teachers and school psychologists at both the secondary and post-secondary levels can refer to sections when determine eligibility for special education services and how the AAIDD paradigm and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) are related.
• University and college faculty and students in medicine, special education and psychology disciplines can use the manual as a key reference in developmental disability.
• Those involved in the civil and criminal justice system can use the 11th edition when considering how the court should handle criminal cases involving an individual with intellectual disability.
Written by a committee of 18 experts, the 11th edition is based on seven years of work to synthesize current information and best practices regarding intellectual disability; reviews and critiques of the previous edition and feedback from the field. To download an FAQ on the AAIDD Definition Manual, click here
. To purchase the book, click here
AAIDD was founded in 1876 and has as its mission to promote progressive policies, sound research, effective practices and universal human rights for people with intellectual disabilities. AAIDD is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professional concerned with intellectual disabilities.