What is a Developmental Disability?
They fit into a very diverse group of severe chronic conditions due to mental and/or physical impairments. Kids that have developmental disabilities usually have problems with major life activities such as language, mobility, and learning, independent living and self help. They are usually birth defects related to a problem with how that body part or how the system works, also known as functional birth defects. Many affect multiple body parts or system, where as some developmental disabilities only affect one part of the body or system.
Different Types of developmental disabilities can include but not limited to:
The Nervous System- This type effects intelligence and learning and encompass the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. This will cause problems such as behavioral disorders, speech and language difficulties, convulsions and movement disorders. Some common nervous system disabilities include:
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities otherwise known as IDDS- this term refers to a certain range of scores on and IQ (intelligence quotient) test. IDDs can result from a number of various conditions, including (but not limited to):
· Down Syndrome- a set of mental and physical characteristics related to having an extra copy of chromosome 2.
· Fragile X Syndrome- this is the most common inherited for of IDDs it is caused by a defect in the Fragile X Mental Retardation-1gene that causes the body to produce low amounts or none of a certain protein. Without that protein the brain does not develop normally.
· Autism Spectrum Disorders- this is a broad range of issues that can affect a person’s communication skills, social skills, and intelligence. Autism is diagnosed on a spectrum, therefore kids with this condition can have mild or severe symptoms; however they all have some type of autism.
Sensory Related Disabilities- these are often a key part of the complex birth defect pattern. Some examples include:
· Children with congenital rubella are more likely to be deaf and develop cataracts of the eyes.
· Children with Williams Syndrome have trouble seeing spatial relationships between objects around them
· Fragile X Syndrome again because children are often very sensitive to loud noises and they might overreact or have outbursts in reactions to such sounds.
Metabolic Disorders- This is a functional birth defects that affect a child’s metabolism, which is the way the body builds up sugars and then breaks them down and otherwise processes the materials needed to function and create energy. Those include but not limited to be:
· Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a condition which there is a problem with a specific enzyme, a protein that speeds up certain chemical reactions possibly causing IDDs.
· Hypothyroidism- relates to a hormonal condition that if left untreated in infants can cause IDDs.
Degenerative Disorders– in this particular disorder children are usually appear normal at birth but later on lose abilities or functions at a later age. In these cases it is usually not detected until a child starts to show a loss of function. Some degenerative disorders are the result of metabolic disorders. They can cause mental, physical and sensory problems, depending on the specific defect.
· Rett Syndrome is one example of a degenerative birth defect. It usually affects girls before boys and is often caused by a specific genetic abnormality.
Some treatments for Developmental Disabilities- Please keep in mind since there is no cure for a developmental Disability there are a lot of ways to treat the symptoms.Some of them are as follows:
· Down Syndrome- these children can benefit from possible speech and occupational therapy also exercises for gross motor skills. They might also be in special education classes in school and receive more attention at school so they can focus more. Serious issues can also lead to surgery to correct heart defects.
· Fragile X Syndrome– the sooner children with Fragile X syndrome get help the better the outcome will be. Some rehabilitation used with this disorder are to reduce or eliminate some of the learning, physical, emotional, speech and language problems that are common with Fragile X.
· Autism-there is a vast array of treatment options to help with the symptoms of autism. They may include but are not limited to, behavioral, occupational, physical, and speech-language therapies. In addition they would most like receive help in an educational setting as well to assist with school experiences.
· Rett Syndrome– this is treatable to a certain degree. The treatments aim to generally slow the loss of abilities, improve or preserve movements, encourage social communication and social contact. Usually help from a physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech-language therapists are the route seen taken with this disorder. Medication and surgery may also be effective in treating Rett Syndrome.
· Hypothyroidism or and underactive thyroid– this can basically only be controls with oral hormonal treatments or medications.
· Phenylketonuria- (PKU)– The most effective treatment for this disorder is a special diet that limits the protein phenylalanine or (Phe). If caught early enough kids with PKU and on this special diet for treatment can usually develop normally and have no symptoms of PKU.
People with any type of disability can live and lead healthy lives. Again people with Developmental Disabilities usually benefit from a speech, physical or occupational therapist. Depending on what type of disability they have to find out more please contact us.
If you think your child fits into one of these categories our first recommendation is to see the child’s pediatrician, and discuss your concerns. If your child is diagnosed please give us a call one of our highly trained therapists can further discuss treatments, and therapies that might assist your child.