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IDD Core Health Care Content: For Integration into an Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum

Designed to help undergraduate nursing students learn to provide effective and high-quality care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The IDD Core Health Care Content was developed to be integrated into existing undergraduate nursing programs to provide a foundation of education and awareness of the health needs of individuals with IDD. The content aligns with common program outcomes, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials, American Nursing Association (ANA) Standards of Professional Nursing, and core disability competencies from the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education (ADCHE).

The content gives undergraduate students a basic understanding of the needs of individuals with IDD, the problems and barriers they face to care, and how to assist them in communication and advocacy, delivered in the form of videos, simulations, presentations, experiential learning, and case studies.

Graduates from the IDD-inclusive program will:

  • Practice with enhanced knowledge, skills, and competencies in the care of persons with IDD
  • Express increased confidence  in providing a continuum of services for people with IDD across the lifespan and settings 
  • Act as an advocate to insure that people with IDD have access to equitable and reliable health care, have the right to self-determination, and have access to environments that promote their inclusion and quality of life
  • Function as an effective member of the interdisciplinary health care team

More than an Elective

Principles of inclusion, advocacy, and effective communication are woven throughout the traditional undergraduate nursing curriculum. Topics are folded into existing coursework and allow students to learn about specific intellectual and developmental disabilities and their effects on diagnosis and care.

A Record of Success

The materials are selected from 8 IDD-integrated courses in the St. John Fisher University Wegmans School of Nursing, which has been using IDD-inclusive health principles and content in its nursing curriculum since 2020. 

Interactive, Engaging Content

Immersive 3D nursing simulations complement and enhance course content on caring for patients with IDD. 

Faculty Support

In addition to the curriculum resources, the Golisano Institute is able to provide faculty support before, during, and after the implementation period. This includes:

  • A faculty orientation featuring an introduction to neurodiversity, rationale for integrating IDD content into curriculum, and a range of topics that provide foundational information for faculty. Presentations from individuals with IDD and their family members bring to life the concepts introduced during this orientation.
  • Recommendations on clinical opportunities
  • Lab content and competency tools
  • Live simulation content and competency tools
  • Evaluation support

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about IDD-inclusive undergraduate curriculum resources, contact Beth Kiss at