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Working with Individuals with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability to Cope with Serious Illness

Date and Time

Tuesday, June 7, 2022
6 - 8 p.m. ET

Offered via live webinar.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of two (2) continuing education hours.

Registration will close at midnight of the day before the class.

There is a hidden population of people who require inclusive, affirmative care throughout the United States. Historically, they have been underserved, ignored, and forgotten. They live at home, in group settings, in nursing homes and on the street. In 2020, there were 36.5 million people living at home in the US with Intellectual Disability (ID) and Developmental Delay (DD). Their providers require a specialized lens to offer holistic individualized, biopsychosocial-spiritual care. The special protections established to prevent medical disenfranchisement, neglect and abuse can seem esoteric. Clinicians may view those necessary protections as barriers to care. 

This class offers guidance to provide inclusive, patient and family-centered care for people and families living with ID/DD. Clinicians will understand the nuances of working with people and their families living with ID/DD throughout the life course, such as assessing capacity in the context of ID/DD. Special attention will be paid to palliative management of serious illness and end-of-life care to navigate advance directives, goals of care discussions, and life-sustaining treatment in the context of complex capacity and competency conversations. 

Using lecture, breakout groups and discussion, we will examine case studies of persons with ID/DD who develop a life-limiting illness, when the person living with ID/DD is in a caregiver role, and best practices for additional support for people with ID/DD through bereavement.


After taking this class, participants will be able to:

  1. Engage people living with ID/DD as well as families to provide meaningful, evidence-based interventions in the context of serious illness
  2. Synthesize patient experience and the history of institutional discrimination to offer inclusive trauma-informed care to people and families living with ID/DD  
  3. Integrate patient values and preferences with local protections to facilitate goals of care discussions and create advance directives

Adam SchoenfarberAdam Schoenfarber, LCSW, APHSW-C

Adam Schoenfarber is the Palliative Care Social Worker at Westchester Medical Center. He is an adjunct faculty member at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service where he teaches the Palliative Social Work course. His interests focus on disenfranchised, marginalized communities and ensuring that end-of-life providers provide relevant, patient and family-centered, and culturally-sensitive care. Adam obtained his MSW at Columbia University School of Social Work. He completed his undergraduate experience at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst.

Christine KucinskisChristine Kucinskis, ACHP-SW, CSW-G

Christine Kucinskis has been a hospice and palliative care social worker for over 10 years. She is currently a social work team manager at MJHS Hospice where she manages three teams of social workers in a variety of settings servicing terminally ill patients and their families. Prior to this, she worked in geriatrics for over six years. Before all of this, she had worked for over five years with consumers with intellectual disabilities in various settings. Christine is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University where she teaches Grief, Loss, and Bereavement.

Volume discounts are not applied at checkout. They will be issued as a refund.

  • Full Tuition - $60
  • GSS Alumni - $50
  • Current Fordham Field Instructor - $50
  • Current Fordham Adjunct Faculty - $50
  • SWHPN Member - $50
  • 3+ members registering from one agency - $40 per registration
  • Non-Fordham Current MSW or Social Work PhD Student - $40
  • Veterans - $40
  • Fordham Faculty and Staff - $40
  • Current Fordham MSW or PhD Student - $30
  • Fordham Alumni Palliative Care Fellow - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellowship Field Instructor/Career Mentor - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellow or Montefiore Fellow - $0

You will receive the Zoom link for joining the class by the day before the class. You will need a computer and a reliable WiFi connection. The computer may be a desktop or a laptop. It may be an Apple or Windows computer.

If you have never used Zoom before, you will likely be prompted to download an applet, which is a small program that allows Zoom to communicate with your computer. This is safe and you will need to do this to join the class.

It is NOT advised that you participate using a table (e.g,.an iPad) or a cellular phone. The software is not optimized for these devices.

Please plan to join the online class 15 minutes before the start time to be sure that you don’t have any problems connecting. We cannot provide technical support to you and refunds won’t be offered if you have technical problems. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us at at least a few days before the class.