[ Browse by Service Category : Disabilities and Health Conditions : Sub-Topics of Developmental Disabilities (195) ]

Autism Spectrum Disorder

A developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour, and includes symptoms that impair the individual's ability to function properly in school, work and other areas of life. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a "developmental disorder" because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life. Autism is also known as a "spectrum" disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. People with ASD have difficulty with social communication and interaction (e.g. lack of eye contact, voice tones that sound sing-song or robotic, facial expressions or gestures that don't match what is being said), restricted interests (e.g., intense interest in numbers, details, facts), restrictive/repetitive behaviour (e.g., repeating words or phrases, getting upset at changes in routine or sensory input such as light or noise). People with ASD may also experience sleep problems or irritability, but also have many strengths including the ability to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time; being strong visual and auditory learners; and excelling in math, science, music or art. But although ASD can be a lifelong disorder and while children who have ASD have difficulty in talking, playing with other children, and relating to others, including their own family, treatment and services can improve their symptoms and ability to function.

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Cerebral Palsy

A central nervous system impairment that is characterized by an inability to fully control motor function and, depending on the area of the brain that has been damaged, by one or more of the following: spasms; tonal problems; involuntary movement; disturbances in gait and mobility; seizures; abnormal sensation and perception; impairment of sight, hearing or speech; and intellectual disabilities. There are three main types of cerebral palsy: spastic CP, which is characterized by stiff and difficult movement; athetoid CP (also called dyskinetic CP), which is characterized by involuntary and uncontrolled movement; and mixed CP, which is characterized by a combination of symptoms. Some muscles are too tight, and others are too loose, creating a mix of stiffness and involuntary movements. The causes of cerebral palsy include illness during pregnancy, premature delivery and lack of oxygen supply to the baby. In rare cases of acquired cerebral palsy, head injury is the most common cause.

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Intellectual Disabilities

A condition in which individuals exhibit a range of sub-average intellectual functioning concurrently with adaptive behaviour deficits which are manifested during the developmental period and which adversely affect educational performance. (Adaptive behaviour is measured by the effectiveness with which or the degree to which the individual is able to meet the standards of personal independence and social responsibility that are expected for the person's age and cultural group).

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Neurological Impairments

Any of a variety of conditions that are the result of an injury to or impairment of the central nervous system.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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