What is Developmental Disability?

Legal Definition
Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments. Developmental disabilities cause individuals living with them many difficulties in certain areas of life, especially in "language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living". Developmental disabilities can be detected early on, and do persist throughout an individual's lifespan. Developmental disability that affects all areas of a child's development is sometimes referred to as global developmental delay.

Most common developmental disabilities:

  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is thought to cause autism and intellectual disability, usually among boys.
  • Down syndrome is a condition in which people are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. Normally, a person is born with two copies of chromosome 21. However, if they are born with Down syndrome, they have an extra copy of this chromosome. This extra copy affects the development of the body and brain, causing physical and mental challenges for the individual.
  • Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASDs are 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood.
  • Intellectual disability, also (sometimes proscriptively) known as mental retardation, is defined as an IQ below 70 along with limitations in adaptive functioning and onset before the age of 18 years.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
Having impaired mental faculties that prevents potential to be met and responses that are adaptive.