What is a Developmental Disability?
A developmental disability is a severe long-term problem that may be physical or affect mental ability. Developmental disabilities are attributable to intellectual disability (formerly known as mental retardation), cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or disabling conditions found to be closely related to intellectual disability. In order to be considered a developmental disability, the disability must originate before eighteen years of age, be likely to continue indefinitely, and constitute a substantial disability for the individual.
A substantial disability is a condition which results in major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning. Such limitations include receptive and expressive language, learning, self-care, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
The following are descriptions and characterizations of individuals with the aforementioned disabling conditions. However, it should be understood that all persons are individuals and should not be limited by such descriptions. Talents and abilities should be assessed on an individual basis and training, education, and support should be customized to work with an individual’s strengths and promote continued learning, regardless of the diagnosis or generalized characteristics of the disability.
Intellectual Disability (ID)
Intellectual Disability refers to substantial limitation in present functioning. It is characterized by significantly sub-average intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure or work.
There are four degrees of severity specified, reflecting the level of intellectual impairment which include Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Profound. These classifications are based on a combination of IQ levels and demonstrated functional capabilities. The IQ level classifications are as follows: