Mental Health Aspects of Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Professional Development Series

Course for Mobile Crisis Responders

The next course will be offered in spring 2022

This live 6-week online course offers the expert training and support needed to develop expertise in providing effective crisis supports to people with intellectual/developmental disability and mental health needs (MH/IDD). Topics address best practices in crisis assessment, response strategies, and disposition recommendations.

Who should participate?

  • Mobile Crisis Responders, Clinicians & Supervisors
  • Mental Health and/or IDD Case Managers /Service Coordinators
  • Emergency Services Clinicians

Participants who attend all 6 sessions of this course will receive a Center for START Services Certificate of Completion for MHIDD Mobile Crisis Response Training and 0.75 CEUs from the University of New Hampshire (CEUs are available for individual sessions).

Registration fee is $149 per person.


Session 1 - Introduction to Training Course & MH/IDD

  • IDD Overview; MH aspects of IDD; biopsychosocial approach

Session 2 - Presentation of Mental Health Diagnoses in People with IDD

  • Overview of most commonly occurring MH diagnoses

Session 3 - Mental Health Assessment Considerations for People with IDD

  • Information gathering; collateral contacts; establishing rapport, assessing PERMA; knowing the right questions to ask; environmental considerations

Session 4 - Emergency Assessment

  • Conducting a mental status exam; assessing vegetative functioning (baseline exaggeration); safety/risk assessments (including suicidality); biopsychosocial recent stressors (including medication side effects)

Session 5 - Recommendations/Disposition Planning

  • Disposition recommendations; considering assessment data in dispositions; negotiating safety with system

Session 6 - Tying It All Together

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify how common mental health conditions may present in persons with IDD
  • Identify the most common mental health conditions within the IDD population
  • Clarify difference between a person’s presentation and their diagnostic understanding
  • Apply skills and approaches learned within sessions to crisis assessments of individuals with MH/IDD
  • Integrate information learned into disposition recommendations


  • Attend each Zoom Webinar session (If unable to attend a particular session, a recorded version will be available)
  • Read weekly case vignette prior to session and complete a case vignette worksheet
  • Complete a pre- and post-survey at the beginning and conclusion of the course as well as a short training evaluation following each session

About the Facilitators:

Picture of Alyce Benson

Alyce Benson, LCSW
Associate Project Facilitator

MSW, BSW, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Tennessee

Alyce Benson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 18 years experience working with adults, adolescents, and children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders.  She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Ms. Benson specializes in working with individuals who present complex behavioral, medical, and psychological issues, and has extensive experience working in numerous community-based settings and with numerous interdisciplinary teams. She has provided seminars at both national and international conferences for NADD and AAMR.  She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and National Association for the Dually Diagnosed. 

Top Signature Strengths: Hope and Fairness

Picture of David O'Neal

David O'Neal, MS, LMHC, MHP
Project Facilitator

M.S., Psychology, Western Washington University
B.A., Psychology, University of Washington

As a Department Manager of Specialized Services at Sound mental health in Seattle, WA, I manage all IDD services and agency wide Vocational Services. Our Community Networks Program consists of a 30 person, interdisciplinary staff team involved in the provision of mental health, vocational, chemical dependency, solution based systemic problem solving, and case management for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Monitor, facilitate and fulfill contracts with county and state divisions of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities. Our Vocational Team, SoundWorks, is integrated into all mental health clinical teams and those 10 individuals oversee Supported employment for all SMH clients.

Top Signature Strengths: Zest and Social Intelligence