Navigating Crisis Situations: Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) are conditions that affect how a person grows physically, learns, and deals with emotions. These conditions can affect both the body and the mind and can be different for everyone. 

What is a Crisis? 

A crisis is a situation where a person with an IDD of any age is placed in an unsafe situation or is at risk of losing the support they need to remain in the community. This can look like:  

  • Experiencing a behavioral or psychiatric emergency. 
  • Having a history of multiple crisis episodes or at serious risk of future crises and preventive efforts are needed. 
  • The loss of a caregiver or any other provider who may be a main caregiver.  
  • Expressing any concerns of self-harm or harming others.  
  • Being at risk of losing a waiver.  
  • Being at risk of experiencing homelessness.  
  • Being exploited or abused by a caregiver or a provider.  
  • Being at risk of being placed out of the home due to behaviors that cause destruction, aggression, or isolation from others.  

How to Take Action 

If you or a loved one with a developmental disability are in an unsafe situation and need help determining what to do, we have options available. If calling during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, call DSD Family Support Services at (502) 459-5292 and let the receptionist know it is a crisis. If you need help after these hours, call our 24/7 Crisis Line at (502) 589-4313 and ask for the DSD after hours on call team.   

On the call, you will speak to a qualified, trained crisis team member who will determine the level of risk involved through an initial assessment. If no immediate danger is present, your information will be shared with a crisis case manager who will follow up within 24 to 48 hours and provide the next steps to getting the support needed.   

If immediate danger is determined, the mobile response team will be immediately engaged & will further determine the level of risk and may respond in person. Immediate danger is when a person with IDD is currently unsafe in their environment, whether at home or in the community. This can include showing concerns with mental health, self-harm, and/or aggression toward others.   

Don’t hesitate to call the crisis line if you’re unsure about a situation. We have caring and compassionate team members on the line who are ready to help!  

At Seven Counties Services, our programs and services are provided by some of Kentucky’s most qualified and caring professionals. They will work with you and your family to determine the right action for each unique need. To learn more, set up an appointment online or call (502) 459-5292.


Reviewed by Becky Wolf MSW, Vice President of Developmental Services at Seven Counties Services.  

Schedule Appointment

Seven Counties Services serves everyone regardless of diagnosis or insurance status. We ensure that getting started on your journey to recovery is as easy as possible. To schedule your first appointment, you can call directly or complete an online appointment request.

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