Working with People with Developmental Disabilities Presented by Allison Stark, M.A. What is a Developmental Disability?. A severe, chronic disability that is caused by a mental and/or physical impairment Is identified before age 22 years (during the years of “development”)
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Psychiatric Disorders are NOT considered a developmental disability, however, some individuals with developmental disabilities also have a psychiatric diagnosis.
Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities may sometimes (but not always):
PREVALENCE: 1 in 88 children* (1 in 54 boys) are diagnosed in the United States.
*source: Autism Speaks
Autism Spectrum Disorders do not present uniformly. People on the Autism Spectrum may:
Labels are useful because they give people access to services and give a general outline for support, however, labels also limit potential and set up an environment which does not respect a person’s individual identity and rights.
1990 - The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed
1999 - The Olmstead V.. L.C. ruling required states to eliminate “unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.”
As a result:
The words you use to refer to someone or something say a great deal about your values about that person or thing and people with disabilities and their advocates will notice.
PEOPLE FIRST LANGUAGE is very simple, as the phrase implies, you always refer to the person first, not their disability.
Instead of … Say …
An Autistic A person on the Autism Spectrum
Intellectually disabled a person with an intellectual disability
Wheelchair bound A person who uses a wheelchair
A common and incorrect perception of people with developmental disabilities, particularly intellectual disability, has been that of the “eternal child.”
You should always ADDRESS THE PERSON first, not their caretaker or loved one when meeting them.
ACT NATURALLY or as you would with any other person without a disability.
SPEAK CLEARLY and ASK OR WAIT FOR QUESTIONS. It is entirely appropriate to ask the individual if you answered their question or if they understand what you are asking them.
Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities (DHS-DDD)
Lists services funded by DHS – DDD. Use to for the “office locator” function to find local offices.
Community Alternatives Unlimited (Local PAS)
Our local Pre-Admission Screening Agency (serves northern Cook and Lake counties) that provides case management services to people with disabilities and their families and determines eligibility for residential and in-home services.
North Broadway DRS Office (Local DRS office)
5050 North Broadway, 4th FloorChicago, IL 60640
Phone: (773) 989-5000 Fax: (773) 989-3451