What is a Developmental Disability (DD)?
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:
(ii.) receptive and expressive language,
(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. Before the age of ten, an infant or child with developmental delays may be considered to have an intellectual or developmental disability if his or her disabilities are likely to meet the above criteria without intervention.
What does AHRC stand for?
AHRC Nassau, the Nassau Chapter of NYSARC Inc., was originally an acronym for the “Association for the Help of Retarded Children.” After many years of advocacy across the nation and internationally by people served and their families, the term “mental retardation” is no longer used. In its place the terms intellectual and other developmental disabilities are common parlance and is the language now found in state and federal law.
AHRC Nassau chooses to continue using the “AHRC” brand, as we have been known for more than 65 years. However, our name no longer stands for the words that the letters once represented.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
In the diagnostic manual used to classify disabilities, the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), autistic disorder is listed as a category under the heading “Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs)” which also includes Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, Williams syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). These PDDs are developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics (twelve characteristics are listed with different disorders being defined by the presence of some or the twelve), are usually evident by the age of three, and affect, to a different degree, an individual child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play and relate to others.
Autism specifically is defined by federal education law as “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction…that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.” People with autism vary widely in their intelligence and abilities, as well as in the behaviors they exhibit.
Estimates on the prevalence of autism vary, with some estimating 1 out of 110 live births. Autism and PDDs are four times more common in boys than girls. The causes of autism and PDD are unknown. Currently, researchers are investigating areas such as neurological damage and biochemical imbalances of the brain, whereas in the not too distant past, psychological factors were blamed for the disorder.
People with disabilities are people, first and foremost.
Person-centered Language seeks to focus on the person first and the disability last. For example, a person is not autistic, they have autism. Describe what a person has, rather than what he/she IS. It recognizes the individuality of each person and that each person is deserving of respect.
When referencing the population we serve, it is important to use respectful language that reflects all of the positive changes in perceptions that have been made over the years.
Using the wrong words and descriptors can reinforce outdated stereotypes. We encourage everyone to understand and embrace Person-centered Language.
Members of the media have a special role to play when referencing our organization and the people we serve. Phrases such as “the disabled” or “mentally retarded” or “special needs person” are not just politically incorrect, they’re discourteous to the people being referenced.
By using Person-centered Language, we are encouraging respect through accurate, nonjudgmental descriptions.
A Few Examples:
|Children/adults with disabilities||Handicapped, disabled, special needs|
|He has a cognitive disability||He’s mentally retarded|
|Accessible parking, hotel room, etc.||Handicapped parking, hotel room, etc.|
Courtesy of Kathie Snow “People First Language”. Please view Snow’s article for additional examples and a more detailed discussion.
What services are right for us and how do we get started?
We are dedicated to assisting people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disabilities in obtaining the services and supports that will help them fulfill their personal goals. We will provide you with information about available options and walk you through the process of obtaining services that fit your individual needs.
Let Us Be Your Guide.
Connect with us at (516) 644-4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer to submit an online inquiry, please CLICK HERE to fill out our online form and a member of our staff will be in contact with you.