Frequently asked questions - SA Intellectual Disability Health Service

If you think you need an ambulance or your injury or illness is critical or life threatening, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.

What is intellectual disability?

Intellectual disability is traditionally seen as a form of developmental disability characterised by impaired cognitive abilities and reduced ability to manage common demands of day-to-day life (adaptive functioning). A person with intellectual disability may have difficulty with thinking skills that impact:

  • planning
  • problem solving
  • abstract thinking and learning

They may also experience difficulties with communication, social skills and independently managing daily activities and have demonstrated problems with these skills since they were a child. Intellectual disability is often diagnosed in childhood by a doctor or psychologist who specialises in this area.

I am a person with intellectual disability and have a health issue, who can help me?

If you have a health issue, the first person you usually go to see is your GP. They will decide whether you need to see another health professional. If needed, they will give you a referral to see a specialist in a certain medical area or refer you to other health professionals.

If you need health advice, you can speak to a registered nurse by calling Health Direct, a free government service, on 1800 022 222. You can also access health advice online.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, call the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677 and ask to be transferred to healthdirect.

If English is not your main language and you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450 and ask to be transferred to healthdirect.

If you have an intellectual disability or are seeking advice on behalf of a person with intellectual disability and need further help regarding health services, you can contact the SA Intellectual Disability Health Service (SAIDHS) on (08) 8257 7300 (Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm).

Do I need a referral to be seen at SAIDHS?

You will need a referral from your GP / medical specialist.

We can help you with a referral if you don’t have access to your own GP.

Does SAIDHS provide crisis mental health services?

No, the SAIDHS does not provide crisis mental health services.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, contact the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65.

Does SAIDHS provide on-going care?

SAIDHS does not provide on-going care, however, can offer short term follow-up and time limited treatment if required. People can be re-referred if their health needs change.

SAIDHS provides comprehensive assessment and planning to support ongoing care in the community by existing services, such as GPs and Allied Health professionals. A detailed report, including any recommendations, will be sent to the referring person (usually a GP) following the consultation. They can help you understand and implement the recommendations.

Why has the Centre for Disability Health changed its name?

An independent review of The Centre for Disability Health in 2018 recommended the development of a new, contemporary health service model for people with intellectual disability. Between 2019 to 2020, a new Model of Care (PDF 1.13MB) was developed in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders from across South Australia. During the Model of Care development, it was identified that the current service name, the ‘Centre for Disability Health’, did not describe the role and scope of the service as well as it could. For this reason, a new name for the service has been chosen, the South Australian Intellectual Disability Health Services (SAIDHS).

Does SAIDHS provide services for children & adolescents?

SAIDHS provides services to adults 18+ years.

Enquiries for child and adolescent mental health services can be directed to CAMHS Connect on 1300 222 647. Young people and their parents are encouraged to seek advice via their GP or current mental health service provider before contacting CAMHS Connect.

How can I prepare for hospital care in the future?

The My Health Information (for when I go to hospital) document has been designed to support people with intellectual disability to communicate their care needs and preferences with hospital staff. If you are likely to need hospital care in the future download and complete the document (PDF 1.13MB)

I have a disability, how can the NDIS help me?

The NDIS can help manage a person’s ongoing functional impairment. This includes help with things like personal care, domestic assistance and community access. You can call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 to learn more. See the list of the local NDIS Coordinators in your area.

I am an NDIS participant, who can help me with my NDIS plan or services?

On the first page of your NDIS plan is the phone number of your NDIS planner. They are the best person to help you with your NDIS plan.

I need help finding a service, who can help me?

The Disability Gateway is a free Australian Government service to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia. The Disability Gateway provides resources about:

  • income and finance
  • employment
  • aids and equipment
  • housing
  • transport
  • health and wellbeing
  • everyday living
  • education
  • leisure
  • rights and legal

You can contact someone from the disability gateway by calling 1800 643 787 (Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm AEST) or you can visit their website.

The NDIS can provide all people with disability with information and connections to services in their communities such as doctors, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools, as well as information about what support is provided by each state and territory government. See the list of the local NDIS Coordinators in your area.