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What are Developmental Disabilities?

Section 102(8) of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 160-402) of 2000 defines the term "developmental disability"

A.    IN GENERAL.—The term ''developmental disability'' means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that— 

            i.  is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
            ii.  is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
            iii.  is likely to continue indefinitely;
            iv.  results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
                      v.  Self-care.
                      vi.  Receptive and expressive language.
                      vii.  Learning.
                      viii.  Mobility.
                      ix.  Self-direction.
                      x.  Capacity for independent living.
                      xi.  Economic self-sufficiency; and
                      xii.  reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

B.    INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN.—An individual from birth to age 9, inclusive, who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting 3 or more of the criteria described in clauses (i) through (v) of subparagraph (A) if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.


Last Updated 6/6/2013