This is the first in a four-part series by the Texoma Community Center marking March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month nationwide.

This is the first in a four-part series by the Texoma Community Center marking March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month nationwide.

About 6,500,000 persons or three percent of the population of the United States have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). About 200,000 of these individuals will need to live in institutions or homes with a high level of care. The remainder of these individuals are capable of living in the community and holding steady employment with the correct amount of support and training.

March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month across the nation. The purpose of this month is to educate people about persons with IDD. The Texoma Community Center has been serving persons in Grayson, Cooke and Fannin counties with IDD since 1974.

Intellectual disabilities can be caused by many factors such as Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, genetic conditions, birth defects and infection that happen before birth. While others happen during the birth process or shortly after birth, accidents, head injuries, some diseases, stroke, certain kinds of infections or a problem in the brain can also cause the condition. There are more than 200 causes of IDD.

Factors indicating a person may have intellectual problems are two or more adaptive behaviors - intelligence quotient score under 70, general learning disabilities, difficulty in thinking in abstract terms, adapting learning to everyday situations, difficulty in solving complex problems, resistant to change, adapting slowly to unfamiliar environments, slow speech or trouble with speaking, finding it hard to remember things, trouble understanding social rules, poor social skills, and trouble seeing the results of their actions. Small children may be slow in development in learning to sit up, crawl or walk, dressing themselves, feeding themselves, and learning to speak.

An intellectual disability is not a communicable disease nor is it a mental illness. Intellectual disabilities are not curable. Most individuals with IDD can learn and are capable of doing many things. More time, effort, and different teaching methods are needed to help these individuals learn. Learning is fostered by due attention, time, and patience.

Every person with intellectual and developmental disabilities has strengths, abilities, and inherent value. These individuals need dignity, respect, independence, quality of life, human and civil rights, community inclusion, self- determination, and support systems. Support systems empower these people with help needed to make informed decisions and choices.

Texoma Community Center offers many services to help persons with IDD to achieve their potential. IDD services are offered at 800 South Mirick in Denison. Call 903-957-4795 for more information. These services include behavioral support services, consumer benefits, continuity of services, intake/eligibility/diagnostic services, service authorization, service coordination, DADS waiver programs (HCS and TXHML), DADS ICF/IDD residential program, transition planning, adult day habilitation, community support services, respite services and supported home living services.