Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh
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April 25, 2023

How Community Psychiatric Centers Treats those with Intellectual Disability Disorder

Part of the How We Treat Series; this chapter dives into the ways CPC supports and treats IDD.

What is Intellectual Disability Disorder (IDD)?

Intellectual Disability is a condition whereby the individual has an overall intellectual quotient (IQ) and adaptive functioning that falls, on standardized and accepted measures, below 70, and such occurred before 18 years of age. These individuals subsequently struggle with reasoning, problem-solving, judgment, academic learning, and learning from experience. Moreover, in terms of deficits in adaptive functioning, some challenges significantly interfere with the individual’s ability to meet developmental and sociocultural norms and standards for independence and taking-on age-appropriate responsibilities.

IDD Severity Levels And Adaptive Skills

As would be expected, there are mild, moderate, and severe levels of the disorder. Those within the mild range (obtaining a standard score of 60-69 on intellectual and adaptive measures) can learn basic life skills but simply need more explanation, repetition, and oversight - these individuals can become somewhat independent in life. Those with Moderate to Severe IDD (59 to 50) will need far more support and oversight but can learn to complete simple activities of daily living while those with severe IDD (49 and below) will need close supervision and guidance for the duration of their lives.

Individuals are assessed in terms of home living, learning, community use, employment, health and safety, and social activities. An individual would need to score at a deficit in at least four of these areas to qualify for services.

What Causes IDD?

Any number of factors can cause an individual to experience intellectual and adaptive deficits. In that respect, for example, prenatal exposure to substances (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), brain infection, traumatic brain injury, maternal infections, hypoxia, or hemorrhage. Genetic factors are also contributory, including Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), and Fragile X. However, many cases of IDD are of unknown origin.


Individuals with IDD are clearly at-risk for other complications and co-occurring conditions. In that respect, individuals with autism often also meet the criteria for IDD. Moreover, one study found upwards of 57% of individuals with IDD also met the criteria for a mood disorder, anxiety, ADHD, or schizophrenia.

How Do We Treat Those With Intellectual Disabilities?

Our goal is to help individuals with intellectual disabilities reach their fullest potential. We treat those of any age; children and adults. We focus on the aforementioned adaptive skills so that, no matter the level of intellect, each is capable as possible to care for their home and living space, learn from experience, take full advantage of community resources, get and keep a job, maintain their health and safety, and develop/maintain social pursuits. Then, we work directly with individuals in the home and community to meet their individualized needs.

Co-occurring Mental Health Issues, And Promoting Family Harmony

Community Psychiatric Centers is uniquely prepared to address any co-morbid mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, attention problems, or trouble with anger management. A primary aspect of the Intellectual Disabilities Disorder treatment program is counseling and behavioral support to promote healthy living. This support is provided directly in the home and can relocate to our outpatient clinic program where we can also provide medication management. It’s not uncommon that individuals with intellectual deficits struggle with loved ones – they don’t always see eye-to-eye in terms of carrying out household duties, maintaining grooming and hygiene, and consequently, there may be some trouble getting along - we also address such issues and promote family communication and harmony.  

How to get started

Check out the details of our IDD program at You can call to make an appointment for an evaluation at (724) 850-7200 or email me at Together, we can work toward establishing a diagnosis and starting services. The same holds true if a diagnosis is already established – call us and we’ll discuss service options including connecting with a Service Coordinator and getting services started.

That’s a Wrap

May God bless you and your family as you pursue services for your loved ones. I hope this post helps in that effort to clarify the resources available for those with Intellectual Disabilities. We look forward to answering any questions along the way and meeting your family’s needs. Don’t hesitate to call or email.  

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