What is a developmental disability?

In general, a developmental disability includes, but is not limited to, people who have an intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, severe seizure disorder or a severe head injury that occurs before the age of 22.

Under federal law, developmental disability means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

  • Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
  • Is manifested before the age of 22;
  • Is likely to continue indefinitely;
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • Self care
    • Receptive and expressive language
    • Learning
    • Mobility
    • Self-direction
    • Capacity for independent living
    • Economic self-sufficiency
  • Reflects the individual’s need for services, supports or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.