Intellectual Disability Guidelines

Updated: Nov 16, 2021
  • Author: Ari S Zeldin, MD, FAAP, FAAN; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP, FANA  more...
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Guidelines Summary

Clinical practice guidelines for psychosocial care of children and youth with special health care needs were released in December 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics and include the following:

  • Promote health and wellness as well as timely assessments of child social-emotional health and parental and/or caregiver depression.

  • Use practice transformation strategies to promote psychosocial screening and assessment, referrals, and follow-up among children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and their families. Examples of such strategies include quality improvement, patient registries, and previsit planning.

  • Use team-based care strategies, care protocols, and dedicated care coordinators (if available) to identify psychosocial risk and protective factors. This may involve collocation, consultation, comanagement, and/or behavioral health integration into medical home and specialty care teams.

  • Consider strategies for working with child care and school staff to monitor progress and improve learning experiences and academic performance.

  • Offer flexible payment options for mental health treatment, care coordination, and collocation or comanagement with specialists; advocate for payment redesign with Medicaid and other insurers.

  • Promote evidence-based interventions and strategies in the medical home and subspecialty settings to support psychosocial development of CYSHCN, parenting competencies, and family resilience.

  • Advocate for research into interventions and psychosocial screening tools specifically for use with CYSHCN.

  • Advocate for community-based resources and strategies to address the reduction of disparities for CYSHCN and their families.