According to the Developmental Disabilities Act (Pub.L.106-402), the term developmental disability means a severe, chronic disability that:
- is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of those impairments;
- occurs before the individual reaches age 22;
- is likely to continue indefinitely;
- results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: (i) self care, (ii) receptive and expressive language, (iii) learning, (iv) mobility, (v) self-direction, (vi) capacity for independent living, and (vii) economic self-sufficiency; and
- reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
The term “developmental disability” can include several types of conditions including, but not limited to: autism, Down syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. Many states use different definitions for developmental disabilities based on the federal law. Oklahoma uses the federal definition and also adds that a person must have a primary diagnosis of intellectual disabilities to be qualified for developmental disabilities services.