What is the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAID) is the longest running non-profit organization in America acting as advocates for people with mental and developmental disabilities. When the organization was founded in 1876, it was known as the Association of Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idiotic and Feebleminded Persons. The organization then underwent name changes to the American Association of Mental Deficiency, followed by the American Association of Mental Retardation, and finally to the current name in 2006.

The overall mission of the AAID is to advocate equality, inclusion and participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in society. They achieve this goal by offering support and aid to families and caregivers as well as people working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. AAIDD provides resources for individuals as well as communities and is run by a group of professionals in the field.

The organization operates out of Washington, D.C. and is headed by a President and Board of Directors, but has over 7,000 members in the United States and another 55 countries have an association with AAIDD.

In addition to acting as a resource for professionals, family members, and caregivers, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities also acts as an advocate in legislation. AAIDD has positions on a variety of issues that impact the intellectually and developmentally disabled including human and civil rights, protection, aging, health care, and education.


The organization also publishes resources for professionals in the field. Their publications include a monthly newsletter, available electronically with updates as to policy, developments, and initiatives, and the American Journal on Mental Retardation, which has been published annually since 1997.

You can read the full mission statement of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, as well as their 13-point principals of operation, by visiting their official website at


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