Understanding and Recognizing Dementia in Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Training


Thank you for exploring the Understanding and Recognizing Dementia in Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Training. The training is designed for both Staff & Paid Caregivers and Families and Home-based Caregivers. This training is the result of a partnership between AgeSpan (formerly Elder Services of Merrimac Valley [ESMV]) and the Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research (CDDER), EK Shriver Center, UMass Chan Medical School. The specific focus is IDD and dementia; both understanding how dementia affects those with IDD and how to connect with someone who has IDD and a diagnosis of dementia. This training was funded through an Administration for Community Living Grant (ACL) #HHS-2020-ACL-AOA-ADPI-0379 federal grant.

What follows is a link to the training and instructions on how to share and use the training.



AgeSpan, based in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts is an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and an Aging Services Access Points (ASAP). AgeSpan’s mission is to serve as a trusted impartial resource connecting people of all ages and abilities and their caregivers with information, quality services and advocacy.

CDDER, based at the EK Shriver Center at the UMass Chan Medical School, provides valuable research, evaluation, and training services in order to enhance the quality of supports and services for people with IDD.

In 2020, AgeSpan and CDDER joined forces, under a federal grant, to create training designed to provide a deeper understanding of IDD and dementia.



We would like to thank the staff at Bridgewell and Waystone for their work on developing this training. They provided valuable input to the content as well as testing the materials. In addition, we would like to thank all the AgeSpan and CDDER staff who provided support in designing, writing, editing, and recording these trainings.

Thank you to all the caregivers out there, both paid and non-paid who provide ongoing support to those with IDD and dementia.



The material in this training is introductory in nature and designed for a variety of staff and non-paid caregivers. It introduces the terms, definitions and lived experiences of people with IDD and dementia. It is designed to provide tips on how to respond to and how to support someone you care for with dementia. It is not intended for clinicians, or those with an already in-depth knowledge of IDD and dementia (although all would benefit).


The Trainings

There are a total of ten modules, five for staff and paid caregivers and five for families and home-based caregivers. The modules are designed to stand alone and may be delivered independently. However, it is suggested that you start with Module 1 to provide all learners with a baseline understanding of terms and definitions.

Module 1: Understanding and Recognizing Dementia in IDD

Module 2: Adapting to Behavior Changes

Module 3: Communication with a Person Living with IDD and Dementia

Module 4: Self-care and Support for the Caregiver

Module 5: Adapting Services to Preserve Quality of Life

The training is designed to be flexible. You may present the training in the most accessible way for you and your students. You may require participants to contribute to the training and share their stories or you may just share the materials. Additional resources are available for learners at a variety of levels and dealing with a variety of circumstances. You may find these additional resources at the end of each module.

Each module includes:

  • Training Video
  • Training Guide: Learning Objectives and Activities
  • Slides Copies & Video Text (that may be printed)
  • One-Page Information Guide
  • Subject Knowledge Questions (Post Test)
  • Satisfaction Survey

Click the Links to access the courses, supplemental materials, and instructions on how to use the courses and materials.

Following these links will bring you to our learning management system website.


Please Note: These courses work best on a laptop computer.
If you are viewing this course on a smartphone or iPad, you may see this icon . Click on the icon to show all the text in a particular section. To exit the text box, the icon must be selected again.

Viewing on a cell or mobile device: This module will not play correctly on a mobile device in portrait orientation. You must view the module with your phone turned sideways, in landscape orientation. Otherwise, you will not be able to answer knowledge questions or use the forward arrows correctly.


These modules are for Families and Home-based caregivers.

Family Training Modules


These modules are for Staff and Paid caregivers.

Staff Training Modules



Any questions on the content of the training or the technical aspects of how to deliver the training should be directed to: CDDERTraining@umassmed.edu