INTRODUCTION: Quality of life as an approach to intellectual and developmental disabilities has developed considerable over the past 30 years and now is having major impacts on the research, the delivery of services and the setting of policy in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. AIM: This article introduces and describes the development of quality of life, its major concepts and principles and links them to research, practice and policy. DISCUSSION: Quality of life is seen as a sensitizing concept and one that can bring further cohesion to research and practice and provide a framework for policy. Quality of life is, as a developmental process or approach, bringing together previous ideas such as normalization and pulling together a number of principles, which are relevant to those working in this field. CONCLUSIONS: The ideas and the areas described are linked, and it is argued that a full understanding of the research concepts and their practical implications are necessary, if the policy is to become the driver of practice over the life span, while including intervention and support along with the education of personnel.
- Education of personnel
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Quality of life