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Gaining Awareness About Developmental Disabilities

Diagnosed before individuals turn 22, developmental disabilities cover a wide range of conditions. Whether cognitive, intellectual, or physical, these disabilities can seem daunting, but many individuals with these conditions can live very full lives with help from physical therapy, living assistance, or medication. We’ll take a look at what developmental disabilities are, how caretakers can help, and how the month of March is dedicated to educating the public about the inclusion of those diagnosed with a developmental disability.  

What Are Developmental Disabilities 

Often impacting day-to-day functioning, developmental disabilities are recognized when clients are young and appear to be slower in achieving developmental milestones. Those milestones include learning to walk, talk, or interact with others. While milestones aren’t concrete and all children develop at different times, being aware of any possible delays can help parents determine if they need to speak to their doctor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 17 percent of children have one or more developmental disabilities including hearing loss, vision impairment, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and ADHD. And while a CDC study shows that some groups can be more likely to be diagnosed with developmental disabilities, no group is immune to these issues.

How Do Developmental Disabilities Occur?

There is no one specific reason why a child could get a developmental disability. Some of the causes, such as drinking while pregnant, are avoidable, but many developmental disabilities, including Down’s Syndrome, are the result of genetic and chromosomal conditions. Or happen because of infections that take place during pregnancy. The causes of some developmental disabilities, like autism, have not been discovered yet so prevention isn’t always possible.

How to Live With Developmental Disabilities 

When children are diagnosed with a developmental disability, sometimes parents are concerned because they fear that their child won’t live what they consider to be a ‘normal’ life. This is a great misconception. Many adult individuals who have developmental disabilities can lead full lives, have families, and be employed.

But according to a study conducted by The Autism Society, 85 percent of those with intellectual or developmental disabilities don’t have a job. This gap occurs even though those who do work say that they like what they do for a living, are satisfied with their wages, and their employers are pleased with the individual’s work performance.

So how can caregivers help those with disabilities live to their fullest potential? Making sure that they are seeing their health care professionals is important. Individuals with developmental disabilities might experience mobility issues, hearing issues, or other things that require attention to help handle. Having the right medical tools and, if required, access to physical therapy, helps individuals be as self-sufficient as possible.

In addition to medical access, having support from those around them is paramount to someone who has a developmental disability. That support can be physical assistance, but it’s also emotional. The encouragement given by caretakers and friends to people with disabilities is very powerful. Individuals with disabilities are capable of becoming doctors, actors, managers, chefs, and many other professions. Having encouragement from a young age helps the individual and also shows the general public just what those with disabilities can achieve.

Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

To help educate the public and showcase achievements that can be had, every March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. First recognized in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, the month works to “increase public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities and provide encouragement and opportunities” to help individuals lead productive lives.

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) works hard to promote the month through artwork, videos, client stories, and other means to help with the normalization of inclusion of people with developmental disabilities throughout every part of life, while also bringing to light the unfair exclusions that still occur.

How Casmir Care Services Can Help

Casmir Care Services is a leading agency dedicated to providing quality, effective person-center services in an individual’s home. With a mission to improve the quality of life for those with developmental disabilities through care, comfort, and compassion, our Direct Care Professionals treat all individuals and their families with respect. Trained to work specifically with those with developmental issues, our team can help these individuals thrive. For more information on how we can provide in-home support for your family member, contact us to see how we can help.

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