H-CARDD Connects - Issue 2 June 2016
News about research findings, resources and tools to improve the health care of people with developmental disabilities.


Welcome to the second issue of H-CARDD Connects. In this newsletter we share our research findings on the health and health care of young (ages 18-24) and older adults with developmental disabilities (DD). Transitioning into different phases of life is challenging for many of us, because different aspects of life are changing at the same time. For example, as a teenager moving into adulthood we all face changes moving from one school system to another, from child to adult health care, and into independent living. Similarly, as we grow older, we might need more specialized health care and support in our living arrangements.
Transitioning from child to adult health care services and into aging care is even more challenging for people with DD. Their health needs are more complex and they face specific challenges accessing services. Poor transitions may lead to poorer health outcomes and inefficient use of the health care system. The H-CARDD research findings provide a better understanding of the health care needs of young and older adults with DD during these transitions. We hope it will contribute to health care planning and better health outcomes for adults with DD. Please share these findings with friends and colleagues. For more information visit our website at www.hcardd.ca or email hcardd@camh.ca

Aging Adults with Developmental Disabilities

The number of older adults with DD in Ontario is growing. By 2021, the number of Ontarians with DD between the ages of 45 and 84 years could be as high as 25,000. These older adults with DD age earlier and experience frailty at a younger age than those without DD. This means that they need aging care earlier than the general population. H-CARDD research findings showed that aging adults with DD using home care are more likely to be admitted to long term care and at an earlier age than those without DD. This calls for planning of timely access to aging care services for adults with DD. Watch the aging project video and hear Katherine McKenzie explain how a new measure of frailty can be used to better characterize the aging population with DD.

Watch a video

Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities

H-CARDD studied the health and health service use of approximately 16,000 young adults 18 to 24 years of age with DD in Ontario. The research findings showed that young adults with DD are more likely to have poorer overall health, more likely to have at least one psychiatric diagnosis and have higher health service use than their same-age peers without DD. Young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder had similar overall health to those with other DD, but were more likely to have mental health concerns and use mental health services. Listen to Barry Isaacs and Jonathan Weiss explain the importance of early intervention for mental health issues in youth with Autism in a brief video.

Watch a video
Do you have a question about this research?
Let us know on Twitter at @HCARDD  #askHCARDD

Event Spotlight

Saturday May 26th, H-CARDD director Yona Lunsky presented at the TEDxYorkUSalon. This independent TED event organized by York University and the Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research provided a forum for ideas within the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community with a focus on young adults. The day included talks from parents, individuals with ASD, policy makers, advocacy organization, clinicians and researchers. Follow @ASDMentalHealth #TEDxYorkUSpectrum to stay tuned to coverage of the event.

H-CARDD Conversations

We presented Dr. Khush Amaria from the Hospital for Sick Children, Good 2 Go Transition Program and Dr. Melanie Penner from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation, Autism Research Centre with the H-CARDD research findings on the health and health care of young adults with developmental disabilities and asked them what these findings mean to them. 

"It quantified some of what we already believed, that youth with developmental disabilities have different rates of psychiatric and other health problems. We'd like to integrate this research in our typical education events around the hospital (and wider community). This population clearly has some additional risks that need to be addressed in the paediatric (under 18) system also." - Dr. Khush Amaria

"I provide psychopharmacologic care to a pediatric population with neurodevelopmental disorders. This study highlights the importance of transition planning. I always try to start transition planning early, and this work provides additional motivation to plan ahead." - Dr. Melanie Penner

Read the full interview and join the conversation.
Full interview
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Email: hcardd@camh.ca