CHOOSING QUALITY OF LIFE
Just as building a strong house requires a variety of materials, building well-being requires community resources, social relationships, and opportunities to thrive. Well-being needs a sturdy foundation at the start to prevent issues and keep it standing through all kinds of weather. Trillium coordinates services for adults and children to address intellectual/developmental disabilities. To ensure people receive the services they need in a timely manner, we employ clinically-trained and licensed staff to manage and authorize those services. Individuals and families without Medicaid may be eligible for state-funded services.
Our Care Management Department includes three regional teams with integrated staff serving members with serious mental health, substance use, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Rather than operating separate groups focused on individual populations, our regional teams focus on the “whole person” approach to ease communication so we can help address a variety of issues. It also helps us identify any barriers to a successful recovery.
What is an Intellectual Disability?
A person with an intellectual disability has difficulty:
- Learning and processing information as quickly as someone without an intellectual disability.
- Grasping abstract concepts such as money and time.
- Understanding interpersonal interactions (communication and social responses).
- Using the ideas and concepts required for planning and organization.
Intellectual disabilities can be mild, moderate, or severe, and factors such as personality, coping strategies, and the presence of other disabilities will affect a person's need for support with daily living. Intellectual disability is thought to affect about 1 - 3% of the population. Of those affected, the majority have a mild intellectual disability.
Intellectual functioning: Also known as IQ (intelligence quotient). This refers to a person’s ability to learn, reason, make decisions, and solve problems. IQ is measured by an IQ test. The average IQ is 100. A person is considered to have an intellectual disability if he or she has an IQ of less than 70 to 75.
Behavioral Adaptation: These are skills necessary for day-to-day life, such as being able to communicate effectively, interact with others, and take care of oneself.
Every person is unique, regardless of their IQ score. Everyone has their own personality and areas of ability and areas of difficulty.
Your child may have an intellectual disability if you notice any of the following:
- Lack of or slow development of motor skills (physical movement), language skills, and self-help skills (like getting dressed), especially when compared to peers
- Failure to grow intellectually or continued infant-like behavior
- Lack of curiosity
- Problems keeping up in school
- Failure to adapt (adjust to new situations)
- Difficulty understanding and following social rules
To measure a child’s adaptive behaviors, a specialist will observe the child’s skills and compare them to other children of the same age. They may observe how well the child can feed or dress himself or herself; how well the child is able to communicate with and understand others; and how the child interacts with family, friends, and other children of the same age.
What Causes Intellectual Disability?
There are many causes of intellectual disability, but doctors find a specific reason in only 25% of cases. The most common syndromes associated with intellectual disabilities are Autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Causes of Intellectual Disability Can Include:
- Infections: present at birth or occurring after birth
- Genetic Conditions: disease caused in whole or in part by a change in the DNA sequence
- Environmental: external, toxic causes that can damage the brain
- Metabolic: conditions that change how the body absorbs food which impacts energy generation and tissue growth
- Nutritional: malnutrition (poor diet) affects growth and development of the brain
- Toxins: such as intrauterine (when a fetus is developing in the uterus) exposure to alcohol other drugs
- Trauma: physical damage to the brain before, during, and after birth
- Unexplained: unfortunately, this is the largest category as many times the exact causes of Intellectual Disability are not determined
What is a Developmental Disability?
"Developmental Disabilities" is an umbrella term that includes intellectual disability but also includes other disabilities that are apparent during childhood. About 15% of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities.
Developmental disabilities are those that can be cognitive(reasoning and thinking), physical or both. These disabilities appear before the age of 22 and are likely to be lifelong. Some developmental disabilities are largely physical issues, such as Cerebral Palsy or Epilepsy. Some individuals may have a condition that includes a physical and intellectual disability.
Your child may have a developmental disability if the exhibit any of the following:
- Delay in meeting fundamental milestones (such as walking and talking)
- Issues with sight or hearing
- Low birth weight or premature birth (both can increase the risk for a developmental disability)
- Loses skills or stops doing things they could previously do
- Does not respond emotionally when parent/caregiver leaves the room
Intellectual Developmental Disability (I/DD) Services Array Brochure: for more information on the services provided for individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, click on the link.
This brochure includes details on:
- Respite Services
- Community Guides
- Developmental Therapy
- Supported Employment
- Family Living
- Supported Living
- Developmental Day
- Day Support
- Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID)
- Group Homes
- Group Living
Resources & Links:
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Autism Speaks
- Complex MH/IDD Resources
- Disability Scoop
- Disability is Natural
- Financial Toolkit for People with Disabilities
- National Disability Institute - Financial Education
- NC Disabilities Council on Development Disabilities
- Supported Living: Making the Difference
- Mental Health Developmental Disabilities & Substance Abuse Services
- Everybody works NC
Page last verified on