International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Frequently Asked Questions

[Background]     [Activities]     [Governance]     [Becoming a Member]


IASSIDD was born out of three international congresses held in Europe between 1960 and 1963. The first, held in London in 1960, was titled Observation of World Mental Health Year. This event was sponsored by the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, The Royal Society of Medicine, the British Psychological Society, in cooperation with the National Association of Mental Health and (the former) American Association on Mental Deficiency. A second congress was held in Vienna in 1961 and a third in Copenhagen in 1964. The International Association was duly formalized at the 1964 Congress, with a constitution published in the American Journal of Mental Deficiency (1965, 69 599) and the Journal of Mental Deficiency Research (1965, 9, 150).

As an international organization, IASSIDD promotes the scientific study of intellectual disabilities and related developmental disabilities and of conditions of persons with these disabilities and their families. IASSIDD defines Intellectual disability as a significant intellectual deficit present from birth, or which originates at an early age or during the developmental period.

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The Association furthers its purpose by undertaking the following activities:

  • Serving as a medium for deliberation, for exchange of ideas, knowledge, skills and experience and for compilation and dissemination of information.
  • Organizing international and regional congresses, conferences and seminars.
  • Encouraging research in the field of intellectual and developmental disability, including causes, prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, therapy, management, education and social habilitation of persons with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families.
  • Producing and distributing publications on the scientific study of intellectual and developmental disabilities and of the care of such persons.
  • Fostering, encouraging and promoting membership in the various professional disciplines in national organizations concerned with the scientific study of intellectual and developmental disability.
  • Co-operating with the other organization directly or closely related with the scientific study of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

World Congress: IASSIDD organizes a Scientific World Congress at regular intervals determined by the Assembly. A listing of past World Congresses can be found at this link: https://iassid.org/content/world-congresses. The next World Congress will be held in Melbourne, Australia in 2016.

Regional Congresses: Between World Congresses, the Associations holds Regional Congresses, in Europe, Asia-Pacific, or the Americas.

Special interest groups:

Special Interest Research Groups provide opportunities for international and multidisciplinary networking among members of IASSIDD within the same area of interest, creating opportunities to share information, develop initiatives, find new colleagues and increase visibility to newcomers in the field. Through SIRGs, members may easily cooperate on common themes of interests.

IASSIDD supports ten SIRGs. They are:

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Members meet periodically as the Assembly of Members. At least one regular business meeting of the Assembly is held in connection with each World Congress of the Association. The Assembly may also meet upon call of the President or on petition of at least 1/3 of the subscribing members.


The Council is the responsible organ of the Assembly to manage the affairs of the Association

during the interim between meetings of the Assembly. The Council has and exercises all the authority and duties of the Assembly except that authority specifically reserved to the Assembly.


The elected Officers of the Association are the President, the President-Elect, the Secretary and the Treasurer who are elected by the Assembly, following approval by Council. In addition, the President can appoint Vice-Presidents from the members of Council.

For details of the composition and duties of the Assembly, Council and Officers, see the IASSIDD bylaws.

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Becoming a Member

IASSIDD is the largest international organization engaged in the scientific study of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through this network, members have an opportunity to link with researchers throughout the world and to collaborate on research projects. Membership in IASSIDD provides a strong special interest research group network affording an opportunity for members to undertake specific works in a defined area and participate in regional and international congresses in their special interest.

Full Individual Members of IASSIDD receive the Association's JPPID as part of their membership, and May subscribe to JIDR at a reduced rate.  Members may also join up to five special interest research groups at no additional cost.

IASSIDD accepts membership registrations online. To join, go to the IASSIDD home page, select “Become an IASSIDD member” and follow the on-screen direction. For assistance, contact admin@iassid.org.

Memberships are based on a calendar year, and expire on December 31.

Membership rates for the current calendar year are listed here.

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