Developmental Disability


Developmental disability is a term used in the United States to describe life-long, disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18. The term is used most commonly in the United States to refer to disabilities affecting daily functioning in three or more of the following areas:

  • capacity for independent living
  • economic self-sufficiency
  • learning
  • mobility
  • receptive and expressive language
  • self-care
  • self-direction

The term first appeared in U.S. law in 1970, when Congress used the term to describe the population of individuals who had historically been placed in state institutions, in its effort to improve conditions in these dehumanizing facilities, “The Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act of 1970”. The law has since been amended many times, and now calls for the full community inclusion and self-determination of people with developmental disabilities.

Frequently, people with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, various genetic and chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are described as having developmental disabilities. This use of the term is synonymous with the use of the term learning difficulty in the United Kingdom, and intellectual disability in Australia, Europe, Canada and elsewhere. Cognitive disability is also used synonymously in some jurisdictions.

Developmental disabilities are usually classified as severe, profound, moderate or mild, as assessed by the individual’s need for supports, which may be lifelong.

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://disabilityadvocates.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/developmental-disability/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: