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Free Custom «Developmental Disabilities: Final Exam» Sample Essay

«Developmental Disabilities: Final Exam»

1. What is developmental disability? Please list 3 examples of developmental disabilities.

Developmental disability refers to a group of severe chronic diseases that cause mental or physical impairments. They are known to cause a lot of difficulties, especially in areas of life such as mobility, learning, independent living, self-help, and language. Developmental disability is easily detected on early stages, especially before an individual attains 22 years of age (Iacono & Davis, 2003).


The exact cause of developmental disability remains unknown in a wider proportion of occurrences. Even in an event of known cause, there is an unclear explanation to its cause and effects. For this reason, there have been great challenges in efforts to come up with apparent etiology of developmental disability. However, for a long time, genetic factors have been closely held responsible for causing developmental disabilities. According to research studies on involving genetic causes, about 1,000 known genetic conditions involve developmental disability as a symptom. The world wide proportion of the population affected by developmental disabilities stands at 1.4%, the most affected are males, when compared to their female counterparts. The condition affects between 1% and 2% of the population in most western nations (Iacono & Davis, 2003). However, it is severe and high in areas where the population is a subject to poverty and lack of relevant resources. Some examples of developmental disabilities include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS)

2. According to the diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), in addition to deficits in intellectual functions, what other limitations are required to have a diagnosis of intellectual disability? Describe the assessment and diagnostic process.

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Intellectual disability, also referred to as intellectual development disorder (IDD), was initially described as mental retardation. The illness is caused by a situation of an individual being below an IQ score of 70, among other notable limitations in adaptive functioning and most probably before 18 years of age (Kaminsky et al., 2011). Individuals suffering from intellectual disability do not look as if they are afflicted with such a condition. This is unless the disability is caused by lead poisoning or malnutrition. Most importantly, children who suffer from such illnesses have delays in learning certain activities, such as sitting upright, crawling, walking, as well as talking. Individuals afflicted with intellectual disability are likely to exhibit the following characteristics that call for diagnosis.

  • Reduced memory skills
  • Delays in oral language development
  • Difficulties in learning, especially simple learning like social rules
  • Delays in the development of adaptive behaviors, such as self-help or self-care skills (Kaminsky et al., 2011).

Assessment and Diagnostic Process

Intellectual disability is associated with genetic conditions such that the disability might have been caused by abnormal genes that children usually inherit from their parents. In line with that, it may also occur as a result of errors when genes combine or other reasons that are related to gene factors. Pregnancy problems may also cause intellectual disabilities. This is when a foetus fails to grow normally. Moreover, there may be a problem with the way a fetus divides, as it grows, hence leading to intellectual disabilities (Schalock, Luckasson, & Shogren, 2007). Women who consume alcohol stand at a very high chance of exposing their fetus to contact intellectual disabilities, exposing a child to certain diseases or toxins may lead to intellectual disabilities. Diseases such as meningitis, whooping cough and measles are the most dangerous, especially if medical care is delayed or is inadequate (Iacono & Davis, 2003). In areas where iodine deficiency is a common problem, especially in developing countries, intellectual disabilities may emerge as a major problem to the affected population.

According to DSM-5, the process of diagnosing intellectual disability requires that one will first be assessed for IQ and adaptive behavior. One’s abilities are evaluated in terms of reasoning, problem solving, planning, judgement, abstract thinking, and ability to learn through traditional teaching methods. This criteria will be analyzing ones IQ level of which if found below 70, he or she will undergo the diagnoses. From an adaptive behavior functioning, one will be analyzed in terms of skills needed to behave independent and in a responsible manner. The skills tested are of extreme importance to assist an individual to succeed at school, workplace, and in life (Iacono & Davis, 2003). Adaptive functioning will be tested by use of standardized, culturally appropriate tests.   

3. Please choose TWO developmental disabilities reviewed in this course and briefly compare and contrast their etiologies, course, challenges, diagnostic criteria, assessment procedures, inventions, etc.

This study will focus on two common types of developmental disabilities learned in this course, including cerebral palsy and Down syndrome in attempts to establish their causes, assessment, challenges, invention, and diagnosis criteria.
Cerebral palsy is a condition whereby the affected person has permanent difficulties in locomotion that are likely to worsen over time. The condition causes physical disability in some areas of the body. The main cause of cerebral palsy are damages to the movement regulation positions of the growing brain parts that easily happen during pregnancy, childbirth, or even after birth up to 3 years of age. The best bit of it is that it is not contagious and, therefore, not infectious. It is easily diagnosed at early ages, rather than when a person is an adult. Up to now, there is no identified cure, but it can be prevented through physical therapy. According to recent research released, cerebral palsy has high chances of occurring to about 2.1 per 1,000 live births (Iacono & Davis, 2003). Diagnoses of cerebral palsy involve historic assessment of a person’s general movement. Common symptoms that can cause one be treated with cerebral palsy generally include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Difficulties with communication
  • Disorder with movement and posture
  • Difficulties with thinking
  • Vision problems and
  • Learning disabilities.


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