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September 9, 1988

Medical Care for Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Author Affiliations

Children's Hospital Boston

Children's Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1988;260(10):1455. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410100145044

Adults with significant mental retardation and other developmental disabilities, living in the community, have now emerged as a special group deserving particular attention regarding the provision of appropriate short- and long-term medical care.1 Long-overdue improvements have taken place in the life circumstances of these individuals, so that the majority of adults with retardation, including those with severe disabilities, now live either with their families, in small group residences in the cities and towns, or in supported apartments. A number of factors exist that make the delivery of health care for such adults more challenging for community physicians. These may include the presence of complex clinical presentations, such as birth defects or syndromes that are often unfamiliar to internists and other physicians for adults; frequent, serious functional nervous system handicaps; and occasional atypical behavioral responses. Further, history taking and access to earlier records may be difficult, extra time is required