What ARE Developmental Disabilities

What ARE Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, TBI’s, and Autism?

Developmental Disabilities (or “DD”) are:
  • Conditions people are born with or obtain prior to age 22, such as cerebral palsy, autism, Aspergers, fetal alcohol syndrome, acquired brain injury, Down Syndrome, or epilepsy, and
  • Considered to be lifelong and cause significant delays in at least 2 areas of everyday functioning, such as communicating, grooming, dressing, safety and social skills, and
  • Diagnosed by a qualified doctor. 

Intellectual Disabilities (or “ID”) are:
  • Conditions that in the past may have been described as “mental retardation,”
  • Present when people have significantly below average intellectual and adaptive skills, as measured by a standardized test administered by a qualified psychologist, and 
  • Diagnosed for people with consistent IQ results of 75 or below with significant impairment in adaptive behavior, and
  • When the onset of the impairment occurs prior to age 18, and 
  • Diagnosed only when considered to be lifelong.

AUTISM (or “ASD”) is: 
  • Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
  • The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
  • Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

Traumatic Brain Disorder (or “TBI”) is:
  • Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.
  • Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.
  • A complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. The impact on a person and his or her family can be devastating.