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Developmental Disabilities « Disabilities – Learning

General Information About Developmental Disabilities

  • Developmental Disabilities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
    Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living. Developmental disabilities begin anytime during development up to 22 years of age and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.
  • Developmental Disabilities (National Institute of Health)
    Developmental disabilities are birth defects related to a problem with how a body part or body system works.  They may also be known as functional birth defects.  Many of these conditions affect multiple body parts or systems.

Official Government Resources About Developmental Disabiities

  • Administration on Developmental Disabilities (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)
    U.S. Government organization responsible for implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, known as the DD Act.  Ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promotes independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion into the community.
  • The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services)
    To improve service systems for individuals with developmental disabilities, and for other purposes.
  • Rising Expectations: The Developmental Disabilities Act Revisited (National Council on Disability – 2/15/11)
    NCD conducted a year-long study of how well these programs are meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families. This report presents the findings and offers recommendations for changes to help develop a more uniform national policy that will support the goals of the Developmental Disabilities Act and improve the program supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.

Resources About Developmental Disabiities (Websites, Blogs)

  • American Assn. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilties (AAIDD)
    Professionals working to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Dan Marino Foundation
    Established to support medical research, treatment, and outreach programs for children with chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities.
  • Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities (
    Helpful resources related to this issue from a variety of sources.
  • Disability Scoop
    The first nationally focused online news organization serving the developmental disability community including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile X and mental retardation, among others.
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Developmental Disability (St. Louis Arc)
    From "What is a development disability" to "How can I help people who have development disabilities."
  • Heart of Sailing
    The charity was founded in 2004 by George Saidah, a successful software entrepreneur who was motivated by his personal experience with a loved one with a cognitive disorder. A sailor for more than 40 years, Saidah dreamed of combining his love of the ocean with service to the community and now devotes his time to developing Heart of Sailing to create a fun, educational and therapeutic opportunity for children with developmental disabilities.
  • Information Connections
    A website for parents of children with developmental disabilities serves as an information portal to resources with a special focus on autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, Down syndrome, and traumatic brain injury, among others. Easy access will simplify and enhance parent’s abilities to gather accurate information about developmental problems.
  • Overcoming Obstacles, Encouraging Abilities
    The Developmental Disabilities Association is a community living agency that provides over 50 community-based programs and services to children, adults and their families with developmental disabilities in Vancouver and Richmond.
  • The Arc Michigan
    Mission is to ensure that people with developmental disabilities are valued in order that they and their families can participate fully in and contribute to their community.
  • The DD News Blog
    News, information, and commentary for families and friends of people with developmental disabilities.

Articles and Pubications About Developmental Disabilities

  • Best Buddies Program Offers Lifelong Relationships, Lessons for Students (Central MI Life – 2/1/10)
    Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that allows students to form friendships with those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Bridging the Aging and Developmental Disabilities Service Networks: Challenges and Best Practices (Institute on Disability and Human Development – University of Illinois at Chicago – 3/15/12)
    People with developmental disabilities are aging at unprecedented rates and have unique health and service needs. Adults with developmental disabilities have a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions at younger ages than other adults, due to the confluence of biological factors related to syndromes and associated disabilities. They also may face poor access to adequate health care, as well as lifestyle and environmental issues. These unique service needs of this population pose new challenges for existing service networks. Traditionally the aging and developmental disabilities services systems have run on parallel tracks. Large-scale legislative changes that target long-term care services and supports will require greater communication and coordination between the two systems. In this time of great transformation, it is critical for the two systems to work together as their populations face similar needs including managed long-term, integrated care for people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, and rebalancing initiatives that promote community living.
  • Can People with Developmental Disabilities Be Banned From Having Sex? ( – 2/16/11)
    NBC News reported last week on the case of a man in England with a low IQ who was prohibited from having sex.  Known in British courts only as Alan, he is a 41 year old man with an IQ of 48.  He lives in an apartment with a man.  Alan and his roommate, Kieron, have a sexual relationship.  Laws in Britain state that the Court of Protection can rule that an individual does not have the capacity to make decisions for his or herself.  The court can force an individual to have surgery, get an abortion, or be forced to use contraception.  The government in England can choose when to stop life support for a person with a disability.  The court ruled that Alan did not have the ability to understand the consequences his actions might have on his health.  Alan can no longer have access to Kieron and is restricted from any sexual activity with others.
  • Costs and Outcomes of Community Services for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    University of Minnesota Policy Research Brief.
  • Developmental Disabilities & Dementia (Iowa Senior Resource Digest)
    2009 Power Point presentations from the American Association of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.
  • Guardians Can Help People with Disabilities (Oakland Press – 3-27-10)
    Our laws provide for two distinctive types of guardianships for adults. One type is for “legally incapacitated individuals,” which we have recently written about. The other type is a guardianship over an individual with developmental disability. (Although there is a movement to change the terminology to “intellectual disability,” Michigan law currently uses the term “developmental disability.”)
  • Legacy of Willowbrook State School takes center stage at Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council (SI Live – 2/19/11)
    The legacy of Willowbrook took center stage yesterday at a legislative breakfast for the developmentally disabled, as advocates implored state officials to "keep the promise" Albany made when it shuttered the reviled facility in 1987 after generations of people were warehoused there.
  • The Dollars and Cents of Disability (Disability Scoop)
    Caring for a person with a developmental disability includes far more than just paying for therapy. With lifelong needs at play, caregivers must consider who will one day fill their shoes and how.
    Patti's Comment: This is a nice article written by a colleague of mine.