Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Forum

The Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Forum was one of four strategic planning forums hosted by the Maine Behavioral Health Workforce Development Collaborative throughout the year to address service gaps and needs within various segments of the population throughout Maine.

The panel provided various perspectives on the nature and needs of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities who receive services by the behavioral health workforce.

Stakeholders included:

  • Mobius, Inc.
  • Maine Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Maine Association for Community Service Providers
  • Spurwink Adult Services
  • A family member advocate

The workgroups responded to four areas of concern:


A common theme from the groups was the separation/difference that exists in training, diagnosing, job titles, funding and language/definitions between DD/ID and MH. Providers are inadequately prepared and there is a lack of policy/state agency integration. There also appears to be poor coordination between various providers and crisis teams. Other identified gaps include staff discontinuity; lack of historical data; a lack of support for providers; lack of community support and involvement; and real client-centered treatment planning.

Training Priorities

  • Specialized training for specific populations
  • Improved supervision and better support of the direct service workers
  • Better pay
  • More mental health training for DD workers, and teaching MH workers about DD
  • More attention to making sure there is a "match" between the client and the provider - take time to do this and practice patience
  • Take a holistic approach to working with a client


Opportunities for Cross-System Collaboration

Integrate MH and ID/DD services, as well as families and providers working together. Pull together a collaborative from multi-systems to design a training model and disseminate statewide. Perhaps this could be initiated by the state with an RFP. There is a collaborative in Washington County - Caring Community Collaborative - that cooperates to access different trainings. Improve communication between providers, specifically with an individual's relevant history. Developing staff who can serve multiple populations would be a way to reduce client stress.

Resources for Training

  • Suggest there be a "resources fair" for people to present already developed curricula or tools.
  • Identify a champion within an organization (one who is doing excellent work with clients) who can provide internal training pertinent to the agency.
  • Tap into college and university expertise, as well as the collaboratives that already exist.
  • Employ formal and informal mentoring within and outside of an agency.
  • Promote parent-to-parent collaboration as well, to share treatment ideas.
  • Employ NADD certification and training.
  • Consider Duncan & Millers Partners for Change Outcome Management System.

To learn more about the other three strategic planning forums, please click below: