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Developmental Disability Definition

Federal Definition of Developmental Disability – Public Law 106-402

In general, the term "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic, disability of an individual that...

  1. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
  2. Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
  3. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
  4. Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    1. self care
    2. receptive and expressive language;
    3. learning;
    4. mobility;
    5. self-direction;
    6. capacity for independent living; and
    7. economic self-sufficiency; and
  5. Reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that is of lifelong or extended duration and is individually planned and coordinated.

Infants & Young Children – An individual from birth to age nine, inclusive, who has substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting three or more of the criteria described earlier if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.

State Definition of Development Disability – SDCL 27B-1-18

A developmental disability is any severe, chronic, disability of a person that:

  1. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
  2. Is manifested before the person attains age 22;
  3. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
  4. Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency; and
  5. Reflects the person’s need for an array of generic services, met through a system of individualized planning and supports over an extended time, including those of a life-long duration.

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