Leaders from the learning and developmental disabilities communities engage collaboratively in environmental health and prevention work. As national organizations, collaborators are challenged to reach out and engage state and local affiliates to incorporate environmental health in their mandates and raise awareness among their constituencies.
The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) is a national working group of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. The primary mission of LDDI is to foster collaboration among learning and developmental disability organizations, researchers, health professionals and environmental health and justice groups to address concerns about the impact environmental pollutants may have on healthy brain development. LDDI currently has over 375 organizational and individual members engaged in research, educational and policy efforts. This group is coordinated by Elise Miller, M.Ed., Executive Director of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health (ICEH). The Collaboration on Health and the Environment offers a rich pool of resources related to health and the environment. The toxics database relates individuals chemicals to their role in specific health conditions.
Our partnership in the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative joins our voice with that of other learning and developmental disability groups and allows us to educate the public about the risks of environmental exposures and to bring environmental health trainings on neurodevelopment and environment to communities across the country.
The Autism Society began its Environmental Health and Autism Project in 2007 to build support and educational systems and use grassroots advocacy to enact autism and environmental health legislation and affect health policy reform. The Autism Society’s project goals include expanded awareness among the autism community and the neurodevelopmental disability community about the broad range of environmental contributors to ASDs; coalition building aimed at investigating the links between environmental exposures and neurological disorders; education of policymakers about steps that can be taken to better protect children and those who have ASDs from harmful toxins; engaging the government and scientific communities to spawn greater funding for research.
Parents of children with learning disabilities representing local support groups from around the country gathered in Chicago for a national conference. These concerned families organized into a national organization which was incorporated in 1964. Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is the largest non-profit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities and has over 200 state and local affiliates in 42 states and Puerto Rico. LDA’s international membership of over 15,000 includes members from 27 countries around the world. You can get additional information on neurodevelopment research and the Healthy Children Project: Learning Disabilities of America Environmental Health Initiative.
NADD is a not-for-profit membership association established for professionals, care providers and families to promote understanding of and services for individuals who have developmental disabilities and mental health needs. NADD is recognized as the world’s leading organization in providing educational services, training materials and conferences. NADD has been influential in the development of appropriate community based policies, programs and opportunities in addressing the mental health needs of persons with mental retardation. Since exposure to toxic agents in the environment may contribute to developmental, neurological, and mental health problems, the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) has embarked on a project to advance awareness about the exposure of toxic agents in the environment. NADD is providing professionals, caregivers, family members, and general public with relevant information concerning toxic agents and their effects on human development. NADD is also engaging with other organizations and individuals to promote policies that are aimed at reducing and eliminating exposure to environmental hazards.
The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is the professional association run by and for professionals who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since 1876, AAIDD has been providing leadership in the field of mental retardation. AAIDD (formerly AAMR) is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization concerned about mental retardation and related disabilities. AAIDD has over 7,000 members in the U.S. and 55 other countries. AAIDD launched an environmental health initiative designed to promote good health and reduce disability by forging ground breaking partnerships among the developmental disabilities networks and the environmental health communities. The goals of this unique collaboration are to: Raise awareness about the complex links between exposure to neurotoxic chemicals and developmental disabilities, and Raise awareness that those living with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities may be at greater risk of secondary health effects from toxic exposures than individuals without disabilities.