Developmental Disability

By Shayla Borsdorf

What is a Developmental Disability?

A developmental disability is a group of conditions, either physical, intellectual, or behavior, that can severely impact a students learning (Teaching Textbook); disabilities that are present at birth or emerge during childhood that restrict physical or mental ability (Nursing Assistant Care book).


When a student has a developmental disability, it could mean that the child was born with defects that relates to how their body develops throughout their life. Overall, the student would show abnormal cognitive development, abnormal social behavior, abnormal language development, and physical abnormalities.

Some examples of common disorders found in children are:

  • Autism Disorder
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome

Some example of rare disorders found in children are:

  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Rett's Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Diagnostic Tests and Descriptions

Developmental Screening: a short test to tell if a child is learning basic skills when he or she should, or if there are delays.

Developmental Evaluation: in-depth assessment of a child's skills and is administered by a highly trained professional, such as a development psychologist, developmental pediatrician, or pediatric neurologist.


Write out a plan for the day. By keeping a schedule of the day written out on a board, it'll help everyone in the long run because it'll let them know what they'll be doing.

ALWAYS tell them that they can do anything they set their mind to. Don't EVER degrade any student, no matter what capabilities they have.

Make sure to rewrite instructions/worksheets they may not understand but make sure they're still doing the same concept as everyone else. They may not always understand what's on the paper. Once you build a relationship throughout the year, this will become easier because you will know what the child can and cannot read.

Allow them to participate in social activities with the class.

Don't let what other people say about you, define who you are

Developmental Disabilities Association Promotional Video

Sleeping Beauty-differentiated lesson plan

I would have to change the directions for everything to make it simpler for the student to understand. Other than that, they should still be able to do the activities with the other students.