Talk:Developmental disability

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I would not disagree with any definition of the diagnosis Developmental Disabilities offered here. My objection would be in merging the terms Developmental Disabilities with Special Needs. These are related but oh so different. Special Needs is, dare I say it, a political code word and is used by school administrators to apply political pressure to fund educational initiatives.Carrieblue (talk) 04:01, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

no it's not a "a political code word and is used by school administrators to apply political pressure to fund educational initiatives" as Carrieblue says it is a way for a school to explain in as few words as possible why certain accommodations are provided to certain students, that need them so that the rest of the class does not have as much of a advantage over them, so that hopefully said students don't have to suffer through accusations by there peers and perhaps the peers parents that they are being favored by the school. Even with the special needs label accusations of favoritism are a fact of life for students that are 'special needs'. I think Special Needs is an accurate label for Students with Disabilities. Tydoni (talk) 04:51, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
The article should define the parameters of developmental disability. Which conditions fall into its scope? Jim Michael (talk) 01:46, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Why isn't autism listed? It's actually the most common developmental disability. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 28 October 2013 (UTC)


I was just wondering where the term 'mental retardation' and 'developmental disability' is a used and correct term, because it isn't in the UK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Agreed! I work in the field of disability rights in the UK: currently, "learning disability and "learning difficulty" are the accepted idioms. "Mental handicap" and anything involving the word "retard" are viewed as deeply, deeply offensive. "Developmental disability" sounds like a diagnostic definition and fits in with the medical model of disability rather than the social model. As wikipedia is intended for the lay reader rather than the medical professional, I feel that the whole page shoud be re-titled (with a redirect). If this were just a UK encyclopedia, I'd go for "learning disability", with "learning difficulty" and all the other (PC and non-PC) phrases as redirects: however, I'm aware that on the other side of the Atlantic, and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, other phrases are probably current. I don't profess to know what these phrases are, let alone which ones are deemed acceptable or unacceptable: does anyone from the US want to give us an idea of which phrases you use? Dom Kaos (talk) 21:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I'll take it upon myself to work on in a little while. It defintly needs retooling.


This article frankly sucks. What are we going to do about it? —Keenan Pepper 01:42, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
It looks suspiciously like a diagnostic definition. This and mental retardation need to be re-jigged - the way I understand/see it, 'mental retardation' characterises the medical model of disability (IQ-defined) and 'developmental disability' the social model (multiple impediments to social and intellectual development, not just IQ). This usage of 'developmental disability' is synonymous with the use of the term 'learning disability' in the UK. The article could be expanded significantly to reflect this and discuss developmental disabilities and their impact on people's lives, service provision, education and support, community attitudes etc and alter the mental retardation article to more accurately describe the current situation. I'm in the middle of working on another article at the moment, but it's on my to-do list. Natgoo 22:31, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I've just noticed that mental retardation talk page is rather extensive - I'll need to take a look at the discussion there. Natgoo 22:42, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I have started working on a new version of this article at [Developmental disability/temp link removed]. Please contribute! Natgoo 17:18, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I've started loading the changes into the article page - but it is still under construction. Natgoo 14:51, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay - the bulk of the content is now finished, but I'm yet to properly wikify every section and still need to add some references and external links. Please make additions/changes as necessary, thanks! Natgoo 20:50, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I've tried to rebalance the article - far too much focus on the person as the problem, rather than realising that the problem is rooted in the attitudes and values of the people around the person. There is still a lot of work to be done changing some of the negatively labelling terms to more realistic ones: 'Attention seeking' sounds terrible, so I changed it to 'Seeking social interaction' which means virtually the same thing, without being insulting to the person - what they are seeking is actually a basic human right - interaction with other people. I'd like to see alternative terms used for words like 'stealing' I'm not sure this is an accurate description of what the person's intention actually is, and when a behaviour is interpreted in this way, it can have severe negative consequences for the person.Max Neill (talk) 13:37, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Causes: Diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder... really? It's the diagnosis that causes the DD? (talk) 00:46, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Cognitive impairment[edit]

Moved from article space
Note: Cognitive impairment may also apply to elderly as a condition preceding Alzheimer's Disease. Such cognitive impairment would not be classified as a developmental disability. Some reorganization of this section, perhaps removing the redirect to this page, is required. Cognitive impairment is not synonymous with developmental disability. Here is a blurb from a recent research abstract... which could use a page on simple cognitive impairment as opposed to developmental impairment. Cognitive impairment also occurs at the latter stages of life, when development is already complete!!!

Thirteen elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were enrolled in Dr. Su's study. Patients with MCI are at high risk for developing AD. These 13 patients and 13 elderly control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and performed recall tasks. On MRI images, ADC values were measured in gray- and white-matter regions by using the computer-aided analysis program. Findings were compared between patients and healthy controls.

Sure. Go ahead, be bold! Natgoo 11:47, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


Hi, I was recently harassed for "vandalizing" this page.

I added a picture of my friend, who suffers from a mental handicap and I have proof via test results done by multiple doctors, to this article. He is a generous and humble, sometimes shy, young man who wanted to add his image to the article. He is very positive about his disability and believed with every ounce of his heart that by adding info into the article, he would be helping those looking for information. Not being as computer literate as the rest of us, he asked me, his close friend, to help him do this.

I in no way defaced or vandalized the page and was harshly criticized by a user for doing so.

I would like to reinstate the picture, and I will prove all of the above if need be, and keep it there.

(Added title for clarity) Sorry you feel that the criticism you received was harsh, but pictures are a tricky thing - I didn't remove it, but I'd be very uncomfortable with a picture of a person in this article. Mainly because most people with such disabilities don't have distinctive physical attributes to warrant a photo, and those who do (people with Down syndrome, for eg) are so often trotted out as the poster children for disability organisations because people pity them. I don't think we need to follow that trend here, nor do I think the article needs a photo, but I'm glad your friend wants to be involved in Wikipedia. Can you help him learn the basics of editing instead? Natgoo 13:49, 5 July 2007 (UTC)



Developmental Disability (DD) is NOT the same as Intellectual Disability (ID). Person with DD may have ID but not always. Furthermore, person with ID always has a developmental disability just by definitions.

Please see these definitions:

Developmental Disabilities (DD)

Severe, chronic disability that: is attributed to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the person attains the age of 21; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following major life activity areas: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self sufficiency; and reflects the person’s need for a combination and sequence of special and interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of lifelong or extended duration and individually planned and coordinated.

Reference:(PL 95-602 Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendment of 1978, Section 119, 29 USC 794)

Mental Retardation (MR) (old language, presently Intellectual Disabilities)

A disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. ��This disability originates before age 18.

Five Assumptions Essential to the Application of the Definition Limitations in present functioning must be considered within the context of community environments typical of the individual's age peers and culture. Valid assessment considers cultural and linguistic diversity as well as differences in communication, sensory, motor, and behavioral factors. Within an individual, limitations often coexist with strengths. An important purpose of describing limitations is to develop a profile of needed supports. With appropriate personalized supports over a sustained period, the life functioning of the person with mental retardation generally will improve.

References: American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR 1992) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV 1994) International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10 1994 ) American Psychological Association (APA 1996)

Intellectual Disabilities

"Whilst no one definition of intellectual disabilities has gained universal acceptance, it is generally accepted that the term intellectual disabilities encompasses any set of conditions, resulting from genetic, neurological, nutritional, social, traumatic or other factors occurring prior to birth, at birth, or during childhood up to the age of brain maturity, that affect intellectual development."

Reference: Summative Report to the World Health Organization by the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities 2000

For further reading: Mental Retardation Is No More—New Name Is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

--Jsisirak 18:48, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

It's too fine a distinction to warrant further explanation in an encyclopaedia article, IMO. The only group of people that may be described as having an intellectual disability and not a developmental disability, according to my understanding of this definition, are people with brain injuries acquired after adolescence - who, in my experience, are usually still eligible for DD services if there aren't any ABI-specific services. Also, in the countries/ international bodies that solely use the term 'intellectual disability', there is no such distinction - in fact it's not one I've ever heard before. Yay for the US for coming into line with the rest of the world! Finally! Natgoo 13:26, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

I do not agree with you. Some people who are born with developmental disabilities and DO NOT have an intellectual disability such as people with Cerebral Palsy, vision, speech, hearing disabilities, etc. There is a DISTINCTION! If you have not heard of it, it doesn't mean that you have to be right.

I totally agree with the above. I work with many people with developmental disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy that have no intellectual disabilities. I wonder, does Asperger syndrome qualify as a ID? Revolverlbc1 (talk)

I think it's an important distinction and deserves inclusion in this article. ID is a synonym for MR. It is a specific subset of developmental disabilities, but it's also a non-developmental disability. You can acquire ID through brain injury, not just through developmental problems. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:04, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Aspergers is not an intellectual disability, though it could be considered a mental disability. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I find this article confusing it says that Developmental disability is synonymous with Intellectual disability which implies it is a disease which affects cognitive functions however CP is listed which in my(limited) understanding does not affect cognitive functions. The article also says that a Developmental disability is a physical impairment that manifests before the child is 18. does that mean that if the child is hit by a car and loses the ability to use their legs they are developmentally disabled? this article needs major clarification Tydoni (talk) 05:35, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Where did the definition of Developmental Disability quoted at the top of this section come from? I was familiar with it, until it got to the part saying one must have limitations in three or more of the following life activity areas, and lists areas. I believe that having ONE limitation in ANY major life activity qualifies, e.g., developing asthma, which interferes with breathing. It's a legal definition, so there should be a legal citation that could clarify this.

This answers the question of Tydoni above—Yes, injury before the age of 21 (not 18), including that which is not cognitive, DOES count. 2604:2000:F209:2700:A57E:61AE:8999:4F0B (talk) 14:27, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

IQ-based classification[edit]

Hi there. I removed the following from the article:

Main article: Intelligence quotient

The mentaly disabled people have unusually low IQ score ranges (from DSM-IV):

  • mild mental disability: IQ 50–55 to 70; children require mild support; formally called "Educable Mentally Retarded".
  • moderate disability: IQ 35–40 to 50–55; children require moderate supervision and assistance; formally called "Trainable Mentally Retarded".
  • severe mental disability: IQ 20–25 to 35–40; can be taught basic life skills and simple tasks with supervision.
  • profound mental disability: IQ below 20–25; usually caused by a neurological condition; require constant care.

because there isn't any IQ-based classification for developmental disabilities. There is, however, for mental retardation, but that info is already in that article. I've also removed the references to IQ in the causes section, for the same reason and because some of it was duplicate (prevalence in males). Natgoo 13:38, 5 July 2007 (UTC)(edited)

It there is not, then there is not... In this case this information can be dropped from everywhere. If you have some reference for that, it would be good to fix the article about IQ as well. Audriusa 17:39, 5 July 2007 (UTC).
It's a terminology issue more than anything, I think. People use 'mental disability' as a euphemism for mental retardation because the latter is only really accepted in certain contexts, but often use the same criteria. I think it's a matter of changing the links referring to 'mental disability' to 'mental retardation' where the latter is meant, such as in the IQ article (I think). I'll take a look now and change the links if appropriate. Cheers Natgoo 19:43, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
And, I see you've sorted it. Thanks Natgoo 19:53, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

“Disabled people and religious inclusion”[edit]

In the US, many churches are beginning to offer family support and religious inclusion for disabled persons, especially developmentally delayed children. Typically churches offer these services to families of disabled persons and disabled members: education in an accommodated setting, family support groups, advocacy training, local school system information and social programs.

However some local churches have actively excluded disabled people from attending due to perceived “danger” to other worshippers.

Some churches are offering programs on the following topics to parents of developmentally delayed children: • Education in an accommodated setting • Family support groups • Advocacy training • Local school system information • Social programs.

External Links,0,5136302,full.story Bsarma200 (talk) 17:18, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Given that special needs has grown to be pejorative in parts of the world and that many organisations promote the use of development disability, I propose that the Special needs article be merged into Developmental disability and then redirected. -- Horus Kol Talk 13:23, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

This is understandable, but I came to "developmental disability" because several federal acts intended to serve disabled use the term "developmental disability". Special needs is a term used mainly by education professionals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:00, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps a merger with "mental retardation"? I'm really not sure why an article exists with such archaic language. (talk) 21:10, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

A developmental disability is not the same as mental retardation. Many people that are considered as having a develpomental disabilities are completely capable of learning as long as they are accomodated. (talk) 14:00, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Developmental delay?[edit]

I am working on the toxicology section of PFOA right now and I found that developmental delay links here but is totally not what I am looking for. It seems a separate page would be appropriate for that link. Thanks -Shootbamboo (talk) 20:48, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

I second this. I was looking for information on developmental delay(s), was forwarded to "developmental disability", and began reading only to quickly confirm that "It is not synonymous to 'developmental delay'..." That being the case, I don't even understand why "developmental delay" redirects to this page. Frustrating. --Anon

I agree, and I will change the redirect into Specific developmental disorders. It is not the best redirect but at least these ones are true delays. (See text in section on DSM) Lova Falk talk 07:51, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Advocacy section[edit]

The final sentence ("Several groups advocate ... and Special Olympics") has recently been added by and makes me uneasy. This user has only made three edits to Wikipedia, all of them related to Civitan International, and clearly wants to promote this organisation: but I fail to see the rationale for including Civitan or the other two mentioned organisations (both US-based) in this article given that it has international relevence. There are probably thousands of organisations around the world which could be considered equally worthy of mention: naming three of them is only going to tempt people to add their own group to the list, until it becomes a random and unwieldy directory. I'm proposing this final sentence be removed Dom Kaos (talk) 22:26, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

No objections, so I've done so Dom Kaos (talk) 15:24, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Yet again, another link has been added, this time to a Canadian organisation. I've removed it for the moment, as per my arguments in the above section Dom Kaos (talk) 18:26, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

The same link has been re-added, by User:Njodonnell, who has added the same link to several related pages. I've removed it once more and added a note to this user's talk page. While it may be a worthy website, it is too localised and sets a precedent for others who want to add their own links: this is an encyclopedia page, not a link farm. If it keeps being added without discussion, I will have to request that all these pages be locked - which would be a tremendous shame Dom Kaos (talk) 19:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I understand why the link to "L'Arche Atlantic Region (Canada)" was removed, since it belongs to a localised wing of the L'Arche organization. But why would you remove the link to L'Arche International ( None of the organizations currently listed as External Links in the Developmental disability article (with the possible exception of the IASSID) have the international scope of L'Arche, so your concerns about L'Arche being "too localised" are mystifying to me. Worldwide, L'Arche is one of the most significant organizations serving persons with developmental disabilities. Aside from having homes and programs in the U.S. and Canada, it operates in over 35 other countries (and counting)! In my opinion, adding the L'Arche International link would be a welcome addition to a list of links that is currently far too limited in scope.Njodonnell (talk) 15:16, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I think you have a valid point that other organisations are also too localised. As I said above, this is not a link farm: I therefore propose that the external links section be severely trimmed back Dom Kaos (talk) 16:14, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I have to admit that I'm a Wikipedia novice, so this is the first time I'm hearing about the concept of "link farms". But from what I am now reading on the concept, it seems to me that if you're going to suggest the banning of L'Arche International for potentially turning an article into a link farm, then you should technically be advocating that any and all organisations with multiple branches and/or partners be banned from adding their links as well. Of course, by doing that, you'd effectively be advocating the exclusion of external links to most worldwide or national non-for-profit and government organisations in existence . I agree that there should be limits on adding external links to subsidiary branches of an organisation, but it seems rather short-sighted to propose the banning of links to the headquarters of international or national not-for-profit organisations purely out of concerns that their subsidiary branches might possibly begin to add their links to the same page. In my opinion, links at least to the international and national headquarters of the various disability-related organisations listed in this article ought to be allowed in the external links section. If and when their subsidiary branches begin to try to add their more regional or local links, the link farming argument could then be presented as a rationale for excluding them.Njodonnell (talk) 17:41, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with being a novice: newcomers are always welcome and I'm sure you have a lot to contribute :-) You have a fair point, and I was perhaps over-hasty in removing the link to L'Arche. My apologies. How about a compromise? I propose that the external links section be replaced with a "see also" section, like there is on the disability rights movement page. This section could include a wikilink to List of disability rights organizations: I notice that L'Arche isn't currently on that list page, and it would fit in very well. That way all the links stay on one page, and there's no danger of this page turning into a list. Would you be happy with that? Regards, Dom Kaos (talk) 19:13, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. Having thought about things a little more, I understand now why it is that you're so concerned about the "link farm" potential, especially when it comes to groups and organisations that do a lot of work on the advocacy side of things. Encyclopedia articles about general topics like this one should, I think, focus more on the descriptive than on the prescriptive. So your proposed solution sounds like a good approach to me. Do we need to wait for other comments before proceeding, or do you want to go ahead and make the change?Njodonnell (talk) 14:53, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I think it's fine to go ahead and to it - nobody else has joined in the debate thus far. I'll do it, and copy/paste the removed section here, so it can remain as an archive. Please feel free to add any relevant wikilinks to the "see also" list. I'm glad we've managed to reach an amicable agreement Dom Kaos (talk) 23:40, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me. I appreciated our discussion. Keep up the good work!Njodonnell (talk) 17:47, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

External links (removed from article)[edit]

Please stop using the out-of-date and offensive term mental retardation[edit]

In the UK at least, the phrase is, and has been for many, many years, Mental Disability. This is not, as has been stated incorrectly elsewhere in this page, a euphemism for Mental Retardation; it is the over-arching clinical term for the wide-spectrum disorder of mental impairment, within which are the many other conditions mentioned in this article. The term Mental Retardation is badly out of date; it harks from the early years of the 20th century, not least because it is a synonym for backward, and no health care professional would dare use it in any clinical capacity in the UK due to its offensiveness. The word retarded (even when coupled with development) is considered so offensive in the disabled community as to cause outrage, and any professional wielding it would be liable to disciplinary action.

Perhaps the clinical terms are different in the US, but if that is the case it's very sad. With over 20 years' experience in the field of physical and mental disability in the UK I am shocked to see phrases like this still freely used in a modern encyclopaedia. Blitterbug (talk) 16:00, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, in the US people still use the term "mental retardation." In some areas intellectual disability is used, and in others developmental disability is used (incorrectly) as a euphemism. However, in Ohio where I live a lot of the organizations that provide services have "MR/DD" as part of their name. And I'm pretty sure it is still the technical name of diagnosis. Retarded does not mean backwards, in means slow, and is therefore appropriate for people who have delayed development.
I thought people in the UK said "learning disability," but I do think that mental disability would be a good phrase to use because it easy to understand, doesn't have different meanings in other places, and can't be construed as offensive.Gorramdoll (talk) 01:13, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
"Mental retardation" is the official term used by the Wold Health Organization for disorders in the range F70-F79 as can be seen in their latest document As such it is clearly not "out-of-date" and as the term is OK with the WHO, I see no reason to replace the term with a PC euphemism. (talk) 05:15, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Seriously, 20 years from now, these same types of people will be crying about the term "Mental Disability". Terms that describe this condition will always be subject to perjoration. Hell...MR is better than moron, imbecile, or idiot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Euphemism treadmill. Incidentally, someone removed the term again. Will add it, but keep on 'em. — LlywelynII 02:29, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Cognitive impairment[edit]

How can "developmental disability" be synonymous with "learning disability" in the UK and "intellectual disability" in the US if cerebral palsy is a developmental disability? People with CP generally do not have mental disabilities, so I hope no one would call them learning disabled or intellectually disabled, as it would be incorrect.Gorramdoll (talk) 00:50, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Merger with Mental retardation[edit]

I oppose this merge. I really don't have time to provide detailed comments about every merger Kikodawgzzz suggests. But simply put: Developmental disability concerns both physical and mental impairments. Mental retardation is a subcategory of Developmental disability. And since we already have a fairly long (and with a great potential) article about mental retardation, we don't want to merge these articles. Dodoïste (talk) 17:19, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Oppose. There have been many attempts to replace the term "mental retardation" in Wikipedia with a more politically correct term. This merge attempt sounds like the latest one. Everytime this has been attempted, consensus was to keep the term. This time is no different. See Talk:Mental_retardation#intellectual_disabilities, Talk:Mental_retardation#move_page, Talk:Mental_retardation#Edit_request_from_Tkeys95.2C_21_August_2010 (talk) 04:49, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Oppose Developmental disability is not a synonym for mental retardation (or any of its synonyms). There are many developmental disabilities that have no effect at all on intelligence. Turner syndrome and Spina bifida are two examples. Roger (talk) 17:19, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Oppose I'm cleaning up the MR article now, but I won't finish today. There is no valid reason to pretend DD is so small as MR, and it's insulting to every developmentally-but-not-intellectually disabled person. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:55, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Oppose A lot of people have developmental disabilities, but are not in anyway mentally retarded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:21, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Regardless of the feelings of some of the posters here, we mention the common english terms in the lead section. Mental retardation is one such term. If it needs to be clarified, then that needs to happen in the lead section or a name section, not ignored. — LlywelynII 02:31, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Developmental disability[edit]

The very first 3 lines of the article is wrong. Developmental disability is NOT the same as developmental delay. The reference sited doesn't even make a mention of this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I think it depends? I'm Australian and I've only ever used the term developmental delay. I'm not saying you're wrong, but if that's the case then developmental delay shouldn't be redirected to this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

"DD" Abbreviation[edit]

I edited out where the abbreviation DD had been defined and used for the only time in the article soon after. I am given to understand that the abbreviation is commonly used by mental health practitioners though, so I'd suggest working mentioning that in the introduction. I'm not an expert on the subject nor a very experienced Wikipedian, so I'm not doing it myself. Dmbaguley (talk) 23:09, 8 May 2014 (UTC)