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Glossary of Terms

This page contains definitions of some of the terms used on this site. To return to the page you were viewing, use the "Back" button on your browser.

What is a Developmental Disability?

Developmental Disability is a severe and chronic impairment, which can be attributed to one or more mental or physical impairments with onset before the age of 22 years. Individuals with disabilities require specific and lifelong care that is individually planned and coordinated. The condition or conditions must create substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:

  1. self care,
  2. language skills,
  3. learning,
  4. personal mobility,
  5. self-direction,
  6. potential for independent living and
  7. potential for economic self-sufficiency as an adult.

Examples include cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome or other genetic conditions, vision impairment, hearing impairment.

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What is a Developmental Delay?

A significant delay in one or more areas of the child’s development, including:

  • Physical motor skills such as sitting, crawling, walking, and use of hands/fingers to hold and manipulate objects
  • Communication skills such as understanding words, using words or signs to communicate
  • Self-help skills such as eating, dressing, bathing
  • Cognitive skills such as playing, thinking and problem solving
  • Personal social skills such as communicating with others, playing with others, etc.

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What is a Developmental Risk Condition?

Certain medical and health conditions increase the risk that a child could have delays in development. Those risk conditions include preterm birth, low birth weight, and vision.

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