PANDDA represents the professional interests

of nurses who support people who have

an intellectual developmental disability.

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| Principles of Developmental and Intellectual Disability Nursing (ACN Unit of Study)

In 2021 PANDDA began working with the Australian College of Nursing to develop a specialist study subject in Intellectual and Intellectual Disability Nursing. In 2023 a single unit of study titled “Principles of Developmental and Intellectual Disability Nursing” was finalised and is now available as an elective subject within The Graduate Certificate in Aged Care Nursing and The Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Care Nursing at the Australian College of Nursing.


This unit of study is designed for nurses who work with people with intellectual and development disability across their lifespan in a variety of settings from the home to hospital. The content covers the integral role of the nurse in building therapeutic relationships with the person and their support network. Students learn about the aetiology and epidemiology of various intellectual and development disabilities and how to support people living with them from diagnosis and as they transition to adulthood and older age.


The unit was written by specialist nurses, including some PANDDA members, for nurses. Students will be supported by a team of clinical experts, working within the specialty.


Course content

Theme 1: The role of the nurse in supporting people with intellectual and/or development disability.

Theme 2: Intellectual and developmental disabilities aetiology, epidemiology, and complications.

Theme 3: Managing therapeutic relationships.


Intended learning outcomes for this subject

After completing this subject, students will be able to:

(a) critically appraise the role of the nurse in the provision of ethical, supportive care for people living with intellectual and/or developmental disability.

(b) evaluate the aetiology and epidemiology of intellectual and/or developmental disability and the complications people may experience.

(c) critically reflect on maintaining therapeutic relationships with people with intellectual and/or developmental disability and their support networks in your workplace.

(d) analyse culturally inclusive models of care informed by contemporary evidence and current clinical guidelines.


For further information please visit the ACN website

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