About Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language or behavior areas.

According to Title 17, Section 54000 of the California Code of Regulations, a developmental disability is defined as a disability that is attributable to intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or disabling conditions found to be closely related to intellectual disabilities or to require treatment similar to that required for individuals with intellectual disabilities. It does not include any handicapping condition that is solely psychiatric, solely a learning disability or solely physical in nature.

For an individual to be assessed in California as having a developmental disability, the disability must:

  1. Begin before the individual’s 18th birthday.
  2. Be expected to continue indefinitely.
  3. Present substantial limitations in three or more major life activities, such as self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.

Hikers PhotoDid You Know…
People with Developmental Disabilities Are One of America’s Largest Groups of Citizens with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 2% of the U.S. population has a developmental disability. This group includes more than 7.5 million people, and approximately 125,000 newborn children are added to this group each year. Over 350 causes have been identified.

Early Identification & Intervention is Important!
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 children aged 3 to 17 years of age has a developmental disability or other development delay, and that 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Early intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time.

Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time and waving bye-bye are called developmental milestones. A developmental delay is when a child does not reach milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving and moving at the same time as other children the same age.

If you’re concerned that your child is not meeting milestones for his or her age…
Don’t wait! Talk to your child’s physician. The CDC offers many parent-friendly materials that are research-based, free and easily accessible at www.cdc.gov/actearly.

If you have a relative with a developmental disability and would like more info about our programs…
Please contact Matt Tarver-Wahlquist, Vice President/COO at Lifehouse, to discuss your relative’s potential needs.