Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) are disorders caused by mental or physical impairments, typically present at birth. An intellectual disability is characterized by a limited mental capacity and a lack of skills to handle typical daily routines and social situations. The condition originates before the age of 18. These children can gain independence through support programs and special education services.

Developmental disabilities begin during the developmental period, impacting daily functioning. The conditions are due to physical, behavioral, language, and learning impairments. Therefore, the term “development disability” also encompasses intellectual disabilities.

Recognizing the signs of IDD

The signs of intellectual and developmental disabilities vary by condition. Severe IDDs may become evident in children sooner, showing early in life. Some of the manifestations include achieving developmental milestones later than other children of similar age, such as sitting up, crawling, and walking. Other signs you may identify:

● Difficulties with speaking or speech

● Problems with memory or remembering things

● Trouble with understanding rules

● Trouble with social behavior

● Trouble recognizing the consequences of their actions

● Trouble with problem-solving

● Trouble with logical-thinking

As a parent, it’s natural to compare your child with other children. You may worry they are not developing physically and intellectually as fast as their peers. Some parents will deny the possibility of an IDD, while other parents may be on the search to catch it early. All these feelings and reactions are valid.

If you see the signs, reaching out to healthcare professionals to get an early, accurate diagnosis is key. The expert will assess your child’s intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.

IDD Services for Babies and Toddlers

The mission of IDD services for parents of infants and toddlers is to achieve early intervention. The earlier a child gets diagnosed, the sooner the child and parents can find the support and services to address the child’s unique needs.

Discovering that your child has IDD can be very stressful for the whole family. Parents may deal with guilt as they blame themselves. Siblings may feel ignored as their parents focus their attention on their sibling’s diagnosis. And new parents may feel overwhelmed dealing with the complexities of intellectual and developmental limitations.

If you have a child with IDD, we have classes that can help. Nurturing Parenting Classes are now available at Communicare in Calhoun, Lafayette, Marshall, Panola, Tate, and Yalobusha

counties. Please email us at to see when our next classes start.

IDD Services for School-Aged Children

Special education services are available for school-aged children, starting at the age of three. These services are designed to meet the unique needs associated with the disability and depend on the degree of the intellectual disability. These programs are typically modified versions of the general education curriculum and are supplemented with aids and services.

At Communicare, we have services designed to serve children and youth with emotional or behavioral challenges and their families.  These services can include screening, assessment, counseling, and crisis intervention. Supportive services include community support, targeted case management, and transition planning.

If you have an emergency, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room or call 1-866-837-7521 to be connected to Communicare’s mobile crisis team, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.