People with developmental disabilities often struggle academically and need extra help. Conditions like Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and fetal alcohol syndrome are frequently linked to these impairments. The ability to speak, interact with others, and function independently may all be compromised in people with developmental disabilities.
People who have developmental disabilities can be excellent workers and volunteers if given the proper support. It's impossible to generalise about the type of assistance or adjustments that an employer might need to make for a given situation.
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What Is a Developmental Disability?
Disabilities prevent people from performing daily tasks. Impairments to function can be either physical (affecting the body) or cognitive (affecting the mind). A developmental disability is one that hinders a person's growth in some way, be it physically, mentally, educationally, linguistically, or behaviorally. This indicates that the individual's growth and development may not be proceeding normally, or that the individual may be unable to function in accordance with typical developmental norms. Anyone of any gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status can be affected by a developmental disability. About one-sixth of children, as reported by the CDC (2015c), have some sort of developmental disability or delay.
Disabilities in development typically manifest in early childhood, have long-lasting effects, and may affect a child's ability to function in one or more areas. A child who isn't meeting typical developmental milestones may be flagged by concerned parents, guardians, educators, and doctors. Children reach typical developmental milestones at predetermined ages. An 18-month-old child, for instance, can walk, feed themselves, and use a few words in sentences. By the time they are five years old, most children can read and write, use the restroom independently, hop, skip, and jump, among other skills. Concerned parents or carers may seek medical attention if they observe their child is falling behind in meeting typical developmental milestones. Multiple Developmental Screening Tools are available to the medical professional who will be evaluating the child.
Causes of Developmental Disabilities
Multiple factors contribute to the onset of developmental disability. Some of these conditions are born with. Congenital impairments are birth defects that result from a mutation or error in the genetic coding of a person's genes or chromosomes, and which manifest during the person's development while still in the womb. Conditions such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome are examples of those that are present at birth and are considered congenital impairments.
In certain cases, people with developmental problems don't inherit them from their parents. Infections during pregnancy are a possible cause.
Pregnant women should take extra precautions to prevent catching any illnesses, and should stay away from anyone who has chickenpox, rubella (German measles), or toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a bacterial infection spread through the ingestion of raw or undercooked meat or through contact with cat faeces, such as when cleaning a litter box.
Brain damage from a lack of oxygen during development or delivery, a birth accident, or an infection are common causes of developmental problems like cerebral palsy. Poor prenatal care is a risk factor for developmental problems. A developmental handicap is possible in a child whose mother engages in risky behaviours during pregnancy, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug use, or inadequate nutrition.
Congenital abnormalities, mental retardation, and physical impairments are all possible outcomes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). To avoid having a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is a form of intellectual disability, one must abstain from alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy. Alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman is transferred to the unborn child via the umbilical cord. The mother drinks, and the infant follows suit. Some of the abnormalities that may be seen in children with FAS include a flat ridge between the nose and upper lip, short stature, and a diminished head circumference. FAS can also include hyperactivity, learning impairments, speech and language delays, low IQ, poor reasoning and judgement skills, and problems with vision and hearing. Personal Care Aides and Home Health Aides have a responsibility to report any instances of alcohol consumption by pregnant clients to their managers. No quantity of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, and pregnant women should be aware of this.
Pregnant women need to take extra precautions, such as adhering to a balanced diet, taking any prescribed prenatal vitamins, and avoiding harmful substances like cigarettes, alcohol, and narcotics. Babies are more likely to be born prematurely or with low birth weight if their mothers smoke, drink, or use drugs. Infants born before 37 weeks of gestation or weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth are also at an increased risk of having developmental impairments because they did not have enough time to mature in the womb.
A developmental handicap in a child is another possible outcome of lead exposure. After birth, a kid may develop a handicap. The use of lead-based paint, batteries, and other building materials has been linked to numerous health problems. Once upon a time, lead was commonly employed in the construction of homes and other buildings.
Children in older homes are more vulnerable to lead poisoning because the paint and other building materials used in those homes often contain lead. Young children frequently put things that aren't meant for consumption into their mouths. A child can become poisoned by lead if he or she ingests paint or other items that contain lead. Muscle and bone issues, behavioural and cognitive issues like attention and learning difficulties, anaemia (low blood count), and weight loss are just some of the physical effects of lead poisoning on children. Residents of older buildings can also have their paint tested for lead, which is good news. Get in touch with your superior if you're worried about this.
Developmental Disabilities and Growth and Development
Numerous aspects of maturation and development are influenced by developmental disorders. To the extent a person can participate in society depends on the nature of their handicap and their current level of independence. There are no two persons on Earth who are exactly alike. It's possible for one individual with Down syndrome to live very freely, while another would need round-the-clock care.
Reading, writing, and arithmetic are just some of the skills that may be difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to acquire without additional support. It's possible that they'll be a little behind their peers academically.
As a result of their impairments in motor abilities, people with cerebral palsy may need training in ADL independence or constant assistance from carers. Learning to walk and feed themselves may be delayed compared to typically developing peers.
A person with autism may have difficulties communicating and interacting with others. They may require supplementary aid and behavioural therapies to improve their social and communicative skills. It may take them more time than other youngsters their age to develop social skills.
Senses including sight and hearing may be impaired in children and adults with neurological disorders. They might or might not have any other kind of impairment, be it mental or physical. They might need some guidance while they figure out how to handle life on their own.
A kid with hearing or vision impairments may lag behind typically developing peers in learning to speak and interact with others.
Home health aides and PCAs should be well-versed in the typical ages at which children reach various milestones. Staff members are encouraged to alert their superiors if they become concerned that a kid in their care is not progressing as expected. The medical staff can conduct further evaluations to determine if the child needs specialised testing and other forms of assistance.
How Can a Developmental Disability Impact Normal Growth?
There are several ways in which a person's natural development might be hindered by having a developmental handicap. To what extent they can function normally depends on the specific developmental handicap they have.
Self-Care & Movement
It's possible that they need help with ADLs like bathing, dressing, and eating because of their disability. They may need help with daily activities including personal hygiene, getting dressed, using the restroom, and preparing and eating meals. Muscle control issues could arise if the person's developmental handicap hindered their motor skills. As an example, they might have little command of their muscles. Due to this, they may have trouble walking, getting around, and performing other ADLs.
Communication & Social Situations
The individual with the developmental condition may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally. They might have trouble expressing themselves verbally, or even understanding what others are saying. There's a chance they'd have problems interacting with others. They may have trouble communicating and may struggle to make sense of social settings. They may have difficulty picking up on subtle hints in conversation or in nonverbal gestures. For someone with a developmental handicap, this might be quite discouraging. People's social lives and networks can suffer when they have trouble connecting with others. The individual's academic, professional, and social success could be negatively affected as a result.
Financial Independence & Self-Direction
One's capacity to provide for and maintain oneself monetarily may be negatively impacted if they struggle or are unable to function in a situation like a workplace. Someone's capacity to function on their own is diminished as a result of this. Their entire lives may be spent dependent on the care of others. Dependence on others for care can leave a person feeling helpless, as they are no longer in charge of their own life.
It's also possible that the person's resiliency will be diminished. One's emotional state may fluctuate widely if they have trouble physically moving, interacting with others, being understood, or providing for themselves. They could be experiencing a range of negative emotions including rage, resentment, depression, hopelessness, guilt, and shame. As a result, they may have trouble communicating their wants, needs, and emotions to those around them.
Families of those who suffer from developmental disabilities may also find it challenging to adjust to their loved one's condition. The emotions of anger, frustration, resentment, depression, hopelessness, guilt, and embarrassment can also be experienced by them. In addition to providing practical help with things like bathing and clothing, home health aides/personal care aides can also be there to provide the emotional support that the patient and family require.
Levels of Functioning
One of the many Developmental Screening Tools used to determine the severity of intellectual disability is the IQ test. Exactly how impaired a person is can be measured by looking at their degree of impairment. Levels of impairment can vary widely, from barely noticeable to severely crippling.
An individual whose disability is modest has an IQ between 50 and 69. Some of the child's typical developmental milestones may be delayed. They might not walk or talk until later than average. The child will be able to gain social and job skills, become relatively self-sufficient, and live on his or her own or in a group home setting if appropriate measures are taken and support is provided at an early age.
With an IQ between 35 and 49, a person is considered to have a moderate level of disability. Typical symptoms include a lag in the development of language, communication, and motor skills. Early interventions and assistance can help the kid develop social and vocational skills, allowing him or her to eventually live on his or her own or with minimal supervision in a group living arrangement.
A severely impaired person has an IQ between 20 and 34. A severely handicapped child will typically show visible signs of physical and learning disabilities. They may have trouble expressing themselves, moving about, and taking care of themselves. They will most likely need help with ADLs like feeding, toileting, and dressing, but they can learn to do so with instruction and support. A person with a severe disability will most likely receive the care they require by living with family or attending a special school or group home.
A person whose IQ is below 20 is severely impaired. Many aspects of development, including language, physical, cognitive, and social abilities, lag behind at an abnormally slow pace. Sometimes, the individual's capacity for influencing their surroundings is severely impaired. With the right assistance, even a youngster with a severe disability can learn to walk and talk. In most cases, they will require constant caregiving help throughout their life. When a person's disability is so severe that they can no longer live at home, they are often placed in institutional care.
Tips for Working With People With Disabilities
Individuals with impairments may not have high aspirations for themselves if they have been taught to have low expectations by society. But there are other people who use pessimism as a weapon to overcome social constraints and perhaps even "overachieve." Such a gradient is quite captivating.
Be a reflection.
Recognize the unique value that each person with a disability brings to the world. Assist them in developing a sense of who they are in relation to the world and how they fit into that context. Saying things like "you can't do that," "you won't be able to," or "you need help" to a group of individuals, regardless of their ability, can have a lasting and potentially generational impact on their sense of pride, value, and confidence. It's my duty, and our job, to question this. In this disheartened climate, an organiser like myself may cultivate the seeds of change. The best approach to give disabled people and future generations a voice is to make them feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves. By bringing them together with others in the Independent Living movement, "I am able to encourage them to evaluate the quality of their own lives". Then "I can urge them to alter their behaviour and start acting on their own". That's the thinking behind the independent living movement. To be independent is to rely only on one's own resources and abilities. As a result, care must be taken not to coerce someone into doing or going through something they aren't interested in. It has been argued that true freedom consists of the ability to make any decision at all, no matter how negative the consequences. Imagine how similar my thoughts would be to the society's if you didn't have the freedom to make my own decisions. People will start saying "I can do it," "I am able," and "I'll tell you if I need help," in both positive and negative situations, after they realise they have the capacity to live the life they want.
Discover and join Independent Living.
Let's have a conversation about the many forms of disability. There is a wide variety of impairments in the world today. Tell folks that you have books full of diagnostic criteria on my desk, and that they will discover something there. Disabilities can have far-reaching effects on a person's physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning.
Never presume to know if someone has a disability.
Try to enquire as nicely and respectfully as possible if you feel it is necessary, but never assume that you already know the answer. Autism, blindness, epilepsy, and mental disease are just a few examples of "invisible" disability. Individuals with invisible disabilities have an uphill battle because of the need for constant validation and verification of their handicap, despite their best efforts to avoid discrimination.
Let me introduce you to...the Internet! Alternatively, relax your guard, put aside your clinical perspective, and get to know a fellow human being who happens to be disabled. You can find resources on how to communicate with persons who have specific disabilities if you are aware of their condition ahead of time. The disability community is made up of people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, just like any other community.
Disability etiquette can help you work with individuals with impairments and respect their cultures.
Change and development are occuring as people's eyes are gradually opened to new ideas and realities. Important examples of this include the growing acceptance of minorities, the focus on making the world more accessible, and the evolution of language. Let's at least try not to offend anyone by showing that we aren't keeping up with the latest in politically acceptable thinking. Some people with disabilities, like some people without disabilities, are just rude and won't take any kindly to being treated with respect. For help in such a situation, remember the first piece of advice: maintain composure and assume the role of a reflective surface.
Innovation Not Frustration
The choice between innovation and frustration is one of the most important in our relationships with those who have disabilities.When interacting with people who have impairments, one of the most crucial decisions we can make is whether to foster an environment of inventiveness or frustration.
Autistic people may find it difficult to express themselves. About 7.5 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Health. When it became evident that our son's language skills were subpar, we devoted a great deal of energy to overcoming this obstacle. His inability to express himself verbally made it that much harder to overcome obstacles. Because of this, he had to rely on our interpretive abilities, which, from his perspective, left a lot to be desired.
One programme, "Autism is a World," mentioned the discovery of the Lightwriter. Sue Rubin, a young woman with autism who was labelled "intellectually disabled" before she learned to use a computer keyboard, was the subject of an uplifting documentary.
A significant impediment to the provision of high-quality health care for individuals with disabilities is the inability of health care personnel to communicate effectively and respectfully with those they serve. This document begins with a discussion of universal challenges in communicating with people who have disabilities, then moves on to more specific difficulties that may arise when interacting with persons who have different types of impairments. If you feel uneasy or unsure of how to approach a conversation, learning more about various disabilities might help you feel more at ease and improve your communication abilities.
FAQs About Developmental Disabilities
Intellectual disability is far and away the most common form of disability among people with developmental delays. While autism spectrum disorder is by far the most common developmental disability, cerebral palsy comes in at a close second.
Among these are predispositions passed down from one's parents, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking during pregnancy, difficulties encountered by the mother at the time of giving birth, and the presence of infections either the mother or the infant may contract. and high levels of maternal or infant exposure to environmental toxins like lead.
A child's intellectual functioning may be negatively impacted by cognitive delays, which can hinder their awareness and lead to learning difficulties that are typically not noticed until they start school. Children with cognitive delays may also struggle with social interactions and peer play.
It is recommended that children have a healthy diet beginning at a young age. Early intervention is most effective when it is initiated soon after a child's intellectual disability is diagnosed, so it is important to keep an eye out for warning signs like hereditary or genetic anomalies and intellectual impairment. Metabolic disorders can be detected at a young age with the help of screening.
Intellectual disabilities, as well as physical, neurological, and sensory deficits like blindness and deafness, fall under the umbrella term of developmental disabilities. People with intellectual disability have difficulties with thinking and reasoning.
When given the chance, people with developmental disabilities can contribute greatly to society in the form of paid work and volunteerism. A significant percentage of children, roughly one-sixth, are affected by a developmental disability or delay. It is common to associate these difficulties with the presence of Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, or fetal alcohol syndrome. Pregnant women should avoid being around people who have contagious diseases like chickenpox, rubella (German measles), or toxoplasmosis. Umbilical cord blood carries alcohol from the pregnant mother to the developing baby.
Multiple health issues have been linked to lead exposure from paint, batteries, and other construction materials. Lead poisoning is more common among children living in older homes. Children with cerebral palsy may experience delays in milestone development, including learning to walk and feed themselves. Sometimes, people with autism have trouble expressing themselves and forming relationships. Healthcare workers and PCAs working in the home should be familiar with the average ages at which children achieve common developmental milestones.
It's possible for a child with hearing or vision loss to fall behind their typically developing peers when it comes to communicating and forming relationships. If the person's motor skills are impaired due to a developmental disability, they may have trouble with muscle control. If one has trouble moving around, communicating with others, or providing for themselves, their emotional state may fluctuate widely. Impairment can range in severity from barely perceptible to completely debilitating. Personal care aides and home health aides can also be there for the patient and family when it comes to providing emotional support.
Abnormally slow progress is being made in many areas, particularly in terms of language and motor skills. A child who is severely disabled can still learn to walk and talk with the right support. It's important to remember that you can't force someone to do or go through something they don't want to. Learning proper disability etiquette can make your interactions with people who have disabilities more positive and productive. Physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person's life can all be negatively impacted by having a disability.
- Anyone of any gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status can be affected by a developmental disability.
- Infections during pregnancy are a possible cause.
- Poor prenatal care is a risk factor for developmental problems.
- Congenital abnormalities, mental retardation, and physical impairments are all possible outcomes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
- To avoid having a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is a form of intellectual disability, one must abstain from alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy.
- No quantity of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, and pregnant women should be aware of this.
- A developmental handicap in a child is another possible outcome of lead exposure.
- The use of lead-based paint, batteries, and other building materials has been linked to numerous health problems.
- There are several ways in which a person's natural development might be hindered by having a developmental handicap.
- Muscle control issues could arise if the person's developmental handicap hindered their motor skills.
- Families of those who suffer from developmental disabilities may also find it challenging to adjust to their loved one's condition.
- In addition to providing practical help with things like bathing and clothing, home health aides/personal care aides can also be there to provide the emotional support that the patient and family require.
- Some of the child's typical developmental milestones may be delayed.
- Recognize the unique value that each person with a disability brings to the world.
- Assist them in developing a sense of who they are in relation to the world and how they fit into that context.
- The best approach to give disabled people and future generations a voice is to make them feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.
- By bringing them together with others in the Independent Living movement, "I am able to encourage them to evaluate the quality of their own lives".
- There is a wide variety of impairments in the world today.
- You can find resources on how to communicate with persons who have specific disabilities if you are aware of their condition ahead of time.
- The disability community is made up of people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, just like any other community.
- When interacting with people who have impairments, one of the most crucial decisions we can make is whether to foster an environment of inventiveness or frustration.
- When it became evident that our son's language skills were subpar, we devoted a great deal of energy to overcoming this obstacle.
- A significant impediment to the provision of high-quality health care for individuals with disabilities is the inability of health care personnel to communicate effectively and respectfully with those they serve.
- This document begins with a discussion of universal challenges in communicating with people who have disabilities, then moves on to more specific difficulties that may arise when interacting with persons who have different types of impairments.
- If you feel uneasy or unsure of how to approach a conversation, learning more about various disabilities might help you feel more at ease and improve your communication abilities.