Clients & Families
WHAT IS A DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY?
A developmental disability is a disability that originates before an individual attains age 18 years, continues, or can be expected to continue, indefinitely, and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual.
This term shall include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. This term shall also include disabling conditions found to be closely related to intellectual disability or to require treatment similar to that required for individuals with intellectual disability, but shall not include other handicapping conditions that are solely physical in nature.
A “substantial disability” means the existence of significant functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity, as determined by a regional center, and as appropriate to the age of the person:
Receptive and expressive language
Capacity for independent living
People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability. Autistic disorder is present before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time.
Epilepsy, sometimes referred to as seizure disorder, is a general term that refers to a tendency to have recurrent seizures. There are many kinds of seizures, but all involve abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes an involuntary change in body movement of function, sensation, awareness, or behavior.