Achieving Healthier Futures One Step at a Time: Communication Tips for Interacting With People With Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

This toolkit provides communication techniques for facilitating a healthy living program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
The Arc of San Antonio
South Texas Behavior Institute
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio
Publication Year
Resource Type
Professional Development
Number of Pages

The purpose of this toolkit is to familiarize users with intellectual and developmental disabilities and communication techniques to assist in successfully facilitating a healthy living program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This resource defines and breaks down the term "I/DD", explains the implications of the diagnosis, and offers concrete strategies on communicating with individuals diagnosed with I/DD, as well as best practices for supporting their success in making choices and completing tasks. The techniques presented are particularly helpful for those who have little experience working with individuals who have I/DD. Tips for dealing with challenging behaviors are included as well as links to additional free resources and the underlying research that informs this document.

What the experts say

There are a variety of reasons why adult educators will find Achieving Healthier Futures One Step at a Time useful. It is quick and easy to read; has interesting video links to support the text; has colorful pictures of the student population of persons with disabilities; and includes videos, graphics, and charts that support the topic. The authors highlight the importance of person-first language and the use of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to help improve learners' understanding of and response to directions. Prompting hierarchies are introduced to provide scaffolding that aids communication when these learners struggle with directions. Also included are considerations for managing challenging behaviors. Taken as a whole, this resource provides an overview of ways to develop communication skills and routines when working with learners with ID/DD and ASD.

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