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What are Developmental Disabilities?

developmental disabilities

What exactly is a developmental disability?

Although many of us may know someone with a family member who has a developmental disability, often our knowledge does not go far beyond that.  And all too often, we feel uncomfortable talking about it, which makes it hard to learn more.  There are many different categories of disability and they each have their own symptoms that affect how an individual may react to different situations.  Knowing more about specific developmental disabilities can  help us have better relationships with individuals who are challenged by them and help us better support their families as well. Let’s take a moment to discuss what a developmental disability is and how various disabilities differ.

What is a Developmental Disability?

Developmental disabilities are lifelong conditions that are the result of a physical or mental impairment or a combination of the two. These disabilities generally present themselves before the age of 22 and can impact daily functioning in several areas. Challenged individuals may experience the disability in terms of problems supporting themselves economically, gaining mobility, achieving receptive and expressive language skills, learning, living alone, self-care, and self-direction. There are several levels of disabilities: severe, moderate, and mild.

Types of Developmental Disabilities

There are several different types of developmental disorders that each come with different symptoms, abilities, and disabilities. The first is intellectual disabilities. Intellectual disabilities most commonly occur during childhood and are characterized by limitations in cognitive functioning and adaptive skills. People with this disorder may experience difficulty with functional academics, communication, social skills, community engagement, leisure, health and safety, conceptual skills, and work. Cerebral palsy (CP) is another disability that is a chronic condition that affects movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by brain damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth, or during infancy. CP does not worsen over time but children with CP may also have seizures, abnormal speech, muscle spasticity, hearing and visual impairments, and intellectual disability. Depending on the severity, people with CP may not be able to walk, talk, or eat in typical ways. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is also a developmental disorder. ASDs can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. These disorders affect each person differently and can range in severity. Children with this disorder can display a wide range of strength and weaknesses depending on the severity and their diagnosis. Down syndrome is another disability that occurs when people have three copies of the 21st chromosome instead of the two. This extra chromosome changes the course of the development and causes mild to severe cognitive delays. Speech and language may also be delayed. Children with down syndrome often display speech and language delay. All of these disabilities can be helped with the right treatment and educational program through local school systems and agencies like Family Service Foundation. For more information on helping individuals with their disability, call us today!

Welcome to Family Service Foundation, Inc.!

Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about autism spectrum disorder or developmental disabilitiesvisit here. Do you “Follow” and “Like?” Be sure to stay active on our official pages for FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest today!