Maine Behavioral Healthcare Vice President Authors National Practice Guidelines on Psychiatric Care of Children with Intellectual Disability

April 10, 2020

Media Contact:
Valerie Compagna

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE—Dr. Matthew Siegel, Maine Behavioral Healthcare Vice President of Medical Affairs, Autism and Developmental Disorders Service and clinical researcher, is a first author of a new national practice guideline on the psychiatric care of children with Intellectual Disability.

“This guideline will raise the standard of care for people with intellectual disability by raising awareness of psychiatric illness, standardizing assessment and informing treatment,” said Siegel.

People with Intellectual Disability, which is defined as an intelligence quotient (IQ) of below 70 and limited adaptive functioning, have a much higher rate of co-occurring mental illness. Diagnosed mental illness occurs three times more frequently in people with Intellectual Disability than in those without. In children with Intellectual Disability, the most common co-occurring conditions are anxiety, ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder.

The paper, Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability (Intellectual Developmental Disorder), reflects recent changes in the definition of Intellectual Disability and helps providers distinguish the major causes of intellectual disability.

“All children with intellectual disability should be screened for co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and this paper provides guidance on appropriate screening measures,” said Siegel. “Treatment of co-morbid psychiatric disorders is best done through recommended assessment tools and treatment should follow the limited evidence base available as much as possible.”

About Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Maine Behavioral Healthcare is a leading provider of mental health services for people with developmental disorders, with over 30 outpatient locations throughout southern, western and mid-coast Maine, as well as Spring Harbor Hospital, providing an integrated continuum of comprehensive, coordinated behavioral healthcare for Maine residents of all ages. Learn more at

Care for Children & Adolescents
The Developmental Disorders Service is composed of inpatient services at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook, Maine and outpatient services at the Center for Autism & Developmental Disorders (CADD) in nearby South Portland. This Service is the most comprehensive and specialized mental health service for youth with autism and developmental disorders in Northern New England.