March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and a developmental disability.
A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).
The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:
- Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
- Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
- Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
- Mobility-ability to move around without any assistance
- Self-direction– time management, organization
- Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
- Economic self-sufficiency – having a job and purchasing what one needs
The following are links to articles on various types of developmental disabilities including resources with facts and statistics, organizations, and sign and symptoms.