A developmental disorder is one of several disorders that interrupts normal development in childhood. It can affect a single area of development or comprise several pervasive developmental disorders. A developmental delay is any significant lag in a child’s physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or social development, in comparison with norms. Subsets include: language delay, motor delay, and global delay.
B. General Information
“Developmental disorders” is a group of psychiatric conditions that originate in childhood and involve serious impairment in different areas. These disorders include language disorders, learning disorders, motor disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. ADHD is sometimes included.
Developmental disorders are present from early life. They usually improve as the child grows older, but they also can continue through adult life. Genetics often plays a role, and more males are afflicted than females.
The term, ‘developmental disorder,’ means a severe, chronic disability that:
- is attributable to a mental or physical impairment, or combination of mental and physical impairment
- manifests before the child is age 22
- is likely to continue indefinitely
- results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following activities of daily living:
- receptive and expressive language,
- capacity for independent living,
- economic self-sufficiency, or
- reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or genericservices, individualized support or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or of extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
Most specific developmental disorders can be overcome with early intervention. Early treatment is essential for pervasive developmental disorders, many of which will respond to an aggressive approach that may combine speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior modification techniques, play therapy, and in some cases medication.
C. Social Security Administration Medical Listing 112.12 Development and Emotional Disorders of Newborn and Younger Infants (Birth to attainment of age 1):
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that, in some children, developmental and/or emotional disorders can be disabling. It is listed in Part B of the SSA’s List of Impairments.
Developmental or emotional disorders of infancy are defined by a deficit or lag in the areas of motor, cognitive/communicative, or social functioning. These disorders may be related to either organic or functional factors or a combination of these factors.
The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements of A, B, C, D, or E are satisfied.
A. Your child’s level of cognitive and/or communicative functioning is generally acquired by children no more than one-half the child’s chronological age, documented by appropriate medical findings, or
B. Your child’s motor development is generally acquired by children no more than one-half the child’s chronological age, documented by appropriate medical findings, or
C. Your child’s apathy, over-excitability, or fearfulness, is grossly excessive and demonstrated by an extreme response to visual, auditory, or tactile stimulation, or
D. Your child demonstrates consistent failure to sustain social interaction on an ongoing, reciprocal basis, or
E. Your child’s development and/or functional ability is generally acquired by children no more than two-thirds of your child’s chronological age in two or more of the areas listed above, documented by appropriate medical findings, including if necessary, standardized testing.
Your representative can help you determine whether your child’s developmental disorder delay is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration. If your child is approved for benefits, then his or her case will be reviewed periodically during “continuing disability reviews” (CDRs) to determine if he or she is still disabled. Generally, reviews occur every three years.