Social Inclusion of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Toward Belonging


Social inclusion and exclusion are important to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We examine contemporary understanding of social inclusion, including sense of belonging, drawing particularly on research reporting adults’ own views and experiences. We draw on Simplican et al.’s (2015) ecological model of social inclusion to structure our analysis of social inclusion to focus on participation and relationships. Across the adult lifespan, we review mainstream community participation in various settings, including encounters. We examine relationships with different types of partners and in specific social contexts including LGBTQ+ relationships and online relationships. Our adult life course theme covers companions for community activities at different ages, age-related mobility limitations and their effects on inclusive community participation, retirement, and end of life. We identify ways to support social inclusion. The focus throughout is positive, but we also consider challenges such as loneliness and feeling safe. We end with suggestions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Stancliffe, R., & Hall, S. (2023). Social inclusion of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Toward belonging. International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 65.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 65


  • Community life
    • Social inclusion
  • Specific life stage
    • Adults
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)