Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Thanks to Stephen’s Place and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities for their inspiring work and helpful information.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month can bring awareness to the challenges that those with developmental disabilities face when it comes to interacting within their communities. Developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays affect more than 6 million Americans every day. This month focuses on those with developmental disabilities to give them a chance to shine in a world that is often not set-up for them in an inclusive manner.

The colorful artwork above was created by the very talented Jamila Rahimi. Click the link to read more about her and see more of her artwork.

The term ‘developmental disabilities’ refers to a range of conditions. People with developmental disabilities are typically faced with impairments in certain aspects of their physical, sensory, learning, language, or behavior. Developmental disabilities can affect a parson’s day-to-day functioning, and usually continue through life. 

Early Detection Can Help

Developmental disabilities first occur during early childhood. Many developmental disabilities are diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 24 months. A child with a developmental disability may not have any visible symptoms present at birth. As time goes by, the child may start to show signs of delayed development. Some common signs of developmental disabilities that may start to show at a young age are:

  • Delayed motor skills
  • Delayed language skills
  • Difficulty with feeding and swallowing

It is also important for parents to watch for signs that children are having trouble recognizing familiar people, responding to their name, sleeping issues, nightmares, and bedwetting.

Don’t Let a Label Limit

Like so many medical conditions (and human conditions) developmental disabilities occur on a spectrum. The impact on each individual is different. While there’s a value to being able to name a condition, it’s really important that we never allow a label to limit a person’s potential. We surely can never allow a label to diminish the humanity and inherent worth of every member of our community. Please treat yourself to this brilliant rendition of a timeless Elvis Presley hit!

I am fortunate to work with AJ’s Mom, Heidi. She kindly shared this video that so beautifully illustrates the purpose of this post.

Some of the more well-known developmental disabilities that have been identified include:

  • Autism
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Angelman Syndrome
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Down Syndrome
  • Expressive Language Disorder
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • IsoDicentric 15
  • Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Neural Tube Defects
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Spina bifida
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Williams Syndrome
  • Velocardiofacial syndrome

Visit Stephen’s Place for explanations of all of the conditions listed above.

Regarding Addiction

Among some of the more common developmental disabilities researchers have observed a heightened prevalence of tobacco use and substance use. People with ADHD or Bipolar Disorder are significantly more likely to be vulnerable to addictions. Interestingly, people with Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are less likely to use tobacco than the general population.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.