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Caring for Our People with Disabilities & Chronic Illness

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A developmental disability is a SEVERE mental or physical disability that occurs BEFORE age 22 and causes problems with major life activities such as speaking, moving, taking care of oneself and living independently. People with disabilities are expected to need some type of help with daily living for a very long time, often their whole lives. Some examples of developmental disabilities are mental retardation, autism and cerebral palsy.

Not everyone who has a disability has a developmental disability. The distinction is important because some services are only available to people with developmental disabilities.

The government defines a developmental disability as a lifelong disability of someone older than five years that:

  1. Results from a mental or phsyical problem or a mixture of mental and physical problems.
  2. Shows itself before the person reaches the age 22.
  3. Will probably go on continuously. The person will not recover or grow out of it.
  4. Puts large limits on three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
  • caring for oneself
  • speaking or understanding language
  • education
  • walking or other movement
  • self direction
  • ability to live by oneself
  • ability to sustain oneself financially

5. Has a need for a combination of types of services, such as speech therapy, special education and counseling. These services will be needed over a long period of time and must be planned for the individual. When you apply this definition to babies and young children this means, those from birth to age 5,they have many developmental delays or certain conditions with a large probability of disabilities if services are not given.

If you want to read the federal definition of developmental disability, click here.

Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
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