Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Intellectual/Developmental disability is a disability caused by a number of different conditions or diagnoses with the common characteristic that the ability to learn and to cope within society is impaired (UNESCO, 2009). The World Health Organization (2012) aver that this is a state of arrested or incomplete develop­ment of mind, which implies that the person can have challenges in understanding, learn­ing, and remembering new things, and in applying that learning to new situations.
Persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities may experience problems in major life activities. These include language, mobility, learning, self-help and independent living (Center for Disease Control, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, 2004 as cited in Bryant, 2008). According to the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (2000), they may need ongoing support in one or more major life activities in order to participate in an integrated community and enjoy a quality of life similar to that available to all individuals.
As reported by UNESCO in 2008, persons with intellectual or developmental disability include persons with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autistic spectrum disorder, various genetic and chromosomal disorders (including Down’s syndrome), and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

It is important to note that every person with intellectual or developmental disability is unique. Thus, possible combinations of comorbid conditions are numerous. The ways in which the characteristics associated with these conditions can manifest themselves differently from one individual to another.  
image source: http://performcarenj.org/images/families/girl-blocks.jpg

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