Mental Health & Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Tertiary prevention includes strategies to stop or slow the progression of a disability. Services and supports that improve outcomes and prevent negative consequences for children include:

  • Therapy services
  • Assistive technology
  • Medical care
  • Social supports

When supporting a child with IDD, you can get help from many organizations and state programs. Navigate Life Texas is a great place to learn more about everything from diagnosis to transitioning to adulthood. In addition to lots of information and videos, Navigate Life Texas also has a database to help you find organizations that help parents find the resources and services needed to support children with IDD, such as Texas Parent to Parent or The Arc of Texas.

HHS Services and Resources

Below is a list of several resources available at HHS that can help support children with IDD:

  • Early Childhood Intervention is a statewide program in Texas for families with children birth to 36 months with developmental delays, disabilities or certain medical conditions that affect development.
  • The Children's Autism Program provides treatment services to children ages 3-15 with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. It uses applied behavior analysis to evaluate and teach socially relevant behavior and new skills, while increasing desirable behaviors through positive reinforcement. To apply for the program, contact your local Autism Program provider.
  • helps you apply for Medicaid and get care for children with disabilities, including basic medical services, long-term services and supports, service coordination, service planning and transition planning. Read more about insurance and financial help for children with disabilities at Navigate Life Texas.
  • Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program helps children with their medical care, mental health care, special therapies and much more. Call 800-252-8023 to learn more.
  • Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program works with families of children who are blind or visually impaired to create an individualized service plan. To apply for services, call the HHS Office of the Ombudsman at 877-787-8999, option 3.
  • provides free continuing education credits to physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dentists and others.
  • There are many other programs that might help you or your child so if you do not find what you are looking for, we encourage you to call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Mental Health Challenges

When a person has both a developmental disability and a mental health condition, it's called "co-occurring disorders" or sometimes called "dual diagnoses." At one time, it was thought that a person with an intellectual or developmental disability could not have a mental health condition. Today we know someone with IDD can be dually diagnosed with mental health conditions also. Although research and services have started to focus on the dually diagnosed population, there is still a lack of awareness and a lack of education on the subject.

ODPC is looking into ways to address the gaps in services and will host periodic meetings on dual diagnosis in Austin. If you can't make the meeting in person, there will be a conference call line available to listen to the meetings. You'll have a chance to provide input and learn more about what ODPC and other HHS programs are working on in regards to dual diagnosis.

Email us at to join our distribution list for future dual diagnosis meetings.