Improving Health and Wellbeing for Persons with Disabilities

Individuals with developmental disabilities often face a greater number of health risks and are more likely to experience mental illness throughout their lifetime. Researchers at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that adults with developmental disabilities and psychiatric illnesses visit hospital emergency departments more often. Yona Lunsky, Clinician Scientist at CAMH, says, “[People with developmental disabilities and psychiatric illness] use the emergency department frequently because they have high needs, and these needs are not being met with the care that they are receiving”.

A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders also suggests that young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder experience higher rates of psychiatric diagnoses, and are more likely to visit a hospital emergency department for this reason. Thus, it is critical that the complex health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities are adequately understood by healthcare professionals.

The Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Conference is focused on improving health and wellbeing across the lifespan for people with developmental disabilities. Attending this conference will provide participants with an understanding of new ways to assess and treat the complex needs of this population. Participants will also become familiar with the importance of interprofessional collaboration and community health care.

This conference involves workshops, plenaries, and an interactive poster session. These will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Interprofessional Behavioural Assessment & Treatment of Mental Health Symptoms in youth with ASD and ID
  • Improving primary care for adults with developmental disabilities
  • Pregnancy, prenatal care, and parenting in individuals with intellectual disabilities

Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities will take place from November 29- 30, 2017 at the University of Toronto Conference Centre. Healthcare professionals, developmental service providers, caregivers, students in healthcare disciplines, academic faculty and researchers, and policymakers are encouraged to attend.

For more information and to register, please visit