Developmental Disabilities

What is a Developmental Disability?

Under federal law, Developmental Disabilities are a severe, often lifelong disability that affects people before they reach age 22 and substantially limits functioning ability in three or more life activities such as self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independent living, and employability.

Who is considered eligible?

A young child with a developmental disability is defined (excerpts from the Regulations of the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1996) is a child who has one of three conditions:

  • A condition so severe that it has a high probability of resulting in an Intellectual Disability.
  • A condition of clearly observable and measurable delays in cognitive development and significant and observable and measurable delays in adaptive behavior.
  • A pervasive developmental disorder resulting in significant and observable and measurable delays in at least two of the following areas of adaptive behavior.

School – age child or adult with a developmental disability is defined as a person who:

  • Has an intellectual disability or pervasive development disorder which manifested before age 18  and has significant deficits in adaptive behavior which manifested before age 18.
  • These deficits if temporary, as the result of a severe emotional disturbance before 18 are not a developmental disability.
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