The Arc of Davidson County goes the extra mile to assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as their families. We work with other organizations in Davidson County, NC and throughout the state to offer compassionate services and support.
An intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.
What is a Developmental Disability?
A developmental disability is chronic and attributable to a mental or physical impairment or both. The criteria for determining developmental disability are: manifestation before age of 22, unless resulting from head injury that occurs at any age likely to continue indefinitely, substantial limitation in three or more of the following areas - life activity, self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and/or economic self-sufficiency, need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary care, treatment, or other services which are lifelong or of extended duration.
It's the Person First, Then the Disability
What do you focus on: the wheelchair, the physical problems, or the person?
Let’s suppose you see an individual in a wheelchair who is unable to use the stairs and enter a building. Would you say, “There is a handicapped person who cannot find a ramp” or “There is a person with a disability who is unable to access the building?"
What do you think is the proper way to speak to or introduce a person who has a disability?
Think about how you would introduce someone who does not have a disability. You would say her name, where she resides, what she does, and what she is interested in. You would share if she likes swimming, eating Mexican food, or watching movies. Why introduce an individual with a disability in a different manner?
Each person has mental and physical characteristics. Only a handful of people want to be identified solely by their skill in playing a sport or by their appetite for a certain dish.
In writing and speaking, keep in mind that children and adults with disabilities are just like everybody else. They only happen to have a disability. Here are some tips for improving the language you use when referring to people with disabilities:
Mention the person first before the disability
Draw attention to their abilities, not limitations
Use “people with disabilities” instead of “the disabled.” Make sure you do not label them as part of a disability group
Do not overpraise, give excessive attention, or patronize people with disabilities
Independence is important. As much as possible, let them speak for themselves and make their own choices
Keep in mind that a disability is a functional limitation that interferes with an individual’s ability to hear, walk, talk, learn, etc.
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.
Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth to 2 years) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3 to 21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.