What is a Developmental Disability?

A developmental disability is a disability diagnosed as a mental or physical condition or a combination of mental and physical conditions resulting in significant impairments to daily functioning.

The disability must:

  • have its origin in the brain
  • be established prior to the age of 22 or in the case of intellectual disability the condition must be determined before 18 years of age
  • be expected to last indefinitely
  • result in significant impairments in at least two areas of daily functioning:
    • self-care
    • communication
    • cognitive
    • mobility
    • self-direction
    • capacity for independent living
    • economic self-sufficiency
  • not be primarily related to: mental illness, substance abuse, an emotional disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or sensory impairment

The most common developmental disabilities include:

  • intellectual disability
  • Down Syndrome
  • autism
  • cerebral palsy
  • epilepsy
  • fetal alcohol effect or fetal alcohol syndrome
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