- people who have a mental illness and a co-existing intellectual disability who may also have Autism Spectrum Disorder
- services and clinicians who are delivering care to this client group.
Who and what are we?
The Regional Dual Disability Service (RDDS) is a tertiary service for adults with a dual disability i.e. people with mental illness and co-existing intellectual disability who may also have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Dual Disability Service is a small team that covers the four District Health Board areas in Auckland and Northland. The geographical area stretches from Mercer in South Auckland, Auckland and the whole of Northland. We are a mobile community team and usually try to see our clients in their homes. We also hold clinics for people who are able to attend them.
We offer a multi-disciplinary approach. The team consists of a consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologists and registered nurses.
As a tertiary service, we will only become involved when other services are not able to meet the needs of the client. Where possible, we will work with the local Community Mental Health Centre (CMHC). We are not a crisis service. We encourage our clients to use local mental health crisis teams or other emergency services if this is necessary.
We aim to maximise independence and community participation. We practice according to recovery principles and promote participation in treatment planning and implementation. We include caregivers / families / whanau where possible and appropriate.
What is Dual Disability?
"Dual Disability" refers to people who have an intellectual disability and may also have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder as well as a mental health disorder. There is some evidence that there has been an increase in the number of people of who have both an intellectual disability and any type of psychiatric condition. Similarly there is evidence that people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder have a higher chance of developing a psychiatric condition than the general population.
The presentation of mental illness in a person with an intellectual disability may not be obvious. This is because it may present as changed behaviour (e.g. increased irritability, changes in bodily function and skills of independence) and because people may not have effective verbal communication skills these behaviours may be misunderstood. Physical factors such as epilepsy and other medical conditions are often present and may significantly contribute to the deterioration in mental state.
What we offer:
- Consultations with the person and relevant others (for example family/whanau, mental health professionals, GPs, NASC, residential providers.
- Consultation and liaison with other mental health professionals. This may include undertaking a joint assessment, providing a second opinion or delivering a specialised treatment intervention. The mental health service remains responsible for the ongoing treatment of the client.
- Case management of clients who have very high and complex needs. This is often because the client has extremely poor communication skills and requires an intervention that can currently not be provided by the local mental health service.
- Training of other health professionals and students who are interested in working in this field.