These include holding a quadrennial international Congress, being involved with international activities within the United Nations and the World Health Organization, recognizing the outstanding contributions of key scientists through awards and underwriting the work of young scientists beginning work in the field, promoting scientific publications, advocacy and policy development in research and services, and maintaining an international network of scientists and others concerned with the study of intellectual disabilities.
First and foremost IASSIDD sponsors international congresses, now held once every four years. These international meetings provide an exciting opportunity for presenting recent findings as well as keynote addresses about major advances in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences related to intellectual disabilities. These advances are also addressed in presentations concerned with progress in the provision of services and supports for persons with intellectual disabilities. The most recent Congress was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 2012.
In 1995, IASSIDD became a co-sponsor of the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (JIDR). JIDR is published monthly by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of MENCAP and in association with IASSIDD. The journal is interdisciplinary as well as international in its scope and invites submission of empirical research and integrative review articles from IASSIDD members. It is peer-reviewed and readily available in major libraries and universities throughout the world. IASSIDD individual members may purchase a subscription to JIDR at a reduced rate.
IASSIDD also sponsors free or reduced rate subscriptions to JIDR for countries and individuals when funds for acquisition of journals are severely limited. Members of IASSIDD are nominated to serve on the international editorial board. In addition, JIDR prints a special "news" section to keep members informed about activities related to IASSIDD.
Special Interest Research Groups provide a unique opportunity for researchers from diverse countries and disciplines to engage in a more active exchange about key issues and findings in specific scientific areas to explore opportunities for international collaboration, and to sponsor special events and meetings.
Any member of IASSIDD may join a SIRG or may propose the establishment of a new SIRG. There are 10 Sirgs. For more information about these, go to https://iassid.org/sirgs.
IASSIDD co-sponsors many regional and national meetings related to the Association's mission. In the past, IASSIDD has co-sponsored scientific meetings in Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Austria, South Africa, Switzerland,the Netherlands, Singapore and Great Britain. IASSIDD seeks to provide active support for international exchanges, especially during the years between the World Congresses, in the form of sponsored symposia and presentations by IASSIDD elected officers, councilors, and individual members.
IASSIDD works closely with various international and national organizations in policy activities to further understanding and research related to intellectual disabilities. It works in partnership with the Inclusion International (formerly called the Intellectual League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicap), the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and many international groups concerned with the well-being of individuals and families affected by intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities. Policy activities are designed to increase research opportunities, the dissemination of research findings, and the translation of scientific advances into more effective intervention practices and prevention efforts.
IASSIDD provides awards for travel scholarships for promising young scientists. Its Stevens-Shapiro Memorial Fellowship awards were established in 1988 in order to encourage participation by outstanding young scientists in IASSIDD international meetings. This award is open to early-career researchers who are actively involved in the field of intellectual disabilities.
IASSIDD also provides awards for major scientific and humanitarian contributions to the field. It confers its highest awards for contributions to the field of intellectual disability research and service once every four years. The categories for awards include: Distinguished Achievement Award -Research, Distinguished Achievement Award - Scientific Literature, and the Distinguished Service Citation. The recipients are honored at a special event at the World Congress. Many of the recipients have played leadership roles in IASSIDD and have presented findings at the World Congresses.