How to Listen to Patients Who Cannot Talk

Patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities need psychiatrists to learn some special skills.

More than 2% of the population has an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). This population often has difficulty accessing health care, and consequently individuals with IDD have lower life expectancies. They need medical professionals, including psychiatrists, who understand their unique needs and ways of communicating.

Patients with IDD may present with behaviors that suggest a psychiatric condition, but in this Mental Health Minute, Craig Escude, MD, FAAFP, talks about how to distinguish between genuine mental health problems, behaviors that are associated with a particular IDD, and other possible causes of troubling symptoms.

Dr Escude is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine. He is also president of IntellectAbility.

How do you help patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities? Share comments with your colleagues by emailing PTEditor@mmhgroup.com. Comments may be shared online pending review and editing for style.