Pain in people with intellectual and developmental disability: Focus on children

Meir Lotan, Cochavit Elefant, Joav Merrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Children with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) are prone to suffer more pain compared to their peers without disability. Nevertheless, the difficulty in assessing pain in this population has resulted in under-diagnosis and under-treatment. Despite a growth in pain evaluation for this population in the last couple of years; there is a need for professional intervention in this area with the intent to improve quality of care across their life span. The present article discuss the need for pain evaluation for children with IDD, describes the barriers in pain evaluation in this group of clients, and suggests some considerations in pain management for children with IDD. The authors would like to emphasis that since existing evidence suggests that up to 67-83% of children with IDD are in pain most of the time, we need to be thinking and addressing the topic of pain in this population 75% of the time we spend with those children. Moreover, the problem needs to be addressed with urgency, as musculoskeletal acute pain has the tendency to cause alterations within the central nervous system, turning the acute experience into a chronic condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-194
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pain Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Children
  • Disability
  • IDD
  • Intellectual and developmental disability
  • Pain
  • Pediatric


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