The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) is the fundamental law supporting and enhancing the lives of people with developmental
disabilities and their families. The goal of the act is to “assure that individuals
with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and
have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms
of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration
and inclusion in all facets of community life. The DD Act authorizes three programs
that operate in each state and territory, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Disability Councils, and Protection and Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities together known as the Developmental Disabilities Network.
- From the Association of University Centers on Disability
The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), and serves as a liason between academia and the community. UCEDDs are a nationwide
network of independent but interlinked centers, representing an expansive national
resource for addressing issues, finding solutions, and advancing research related
to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in
both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday
social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 22.
Intellectual Functioning: Intellectual functioning—also called intelligence—refers to general mental capacity,
such as learning, reasoning, problem solving, and so on.
One way to measure intellectual functioning is an IQ test. Generally, an IQ test score
of around 70 or as high as 75 indicates a limitation in intellectual functioning.
Adaptive Behavior: Adaptive behavior is the collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that
are learned and performed by people in their everyday lives.
Conceptual skills—language and literacy; money, time, and number concepts; and self-direction.
Social skills—interpersonal skills, social responsibility, self-esteem, gullibility,
naïveté (i.e., wariness), social problem solving, and the ability to follow rules/obey
laws and to avoid being victimized.
Practical skills—activities of daily living (personal care), occupational skills,
healthcare, travel/transportation, schedules/routines, safety, use of money, use of
Standardized tests can also determine limitations in adaptive behavior.
Age of Onset : This condition is one of several developmental disabilities—that is, there is evidence
of the disability during the developmental period, which is defined as before the
age of 22.
- From the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)
Intellectual disability can be caused by a problem that starts any time before a child
turns 18 years old – even before birth. It can be caused by injury, disease, or a
problem in the brain. For many children, the cause of their intellectual disability
is not known. Some of the most common known causes of intellectual disability – like
Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, genetic conditions, birth
defects, and infections – happen before birth. Others happen while a baby is being
born or soon after birth. Still other causes of intellectual disability do not occur
until a child is older; these might include serious head injury, stroke, or certain
What are some of the signs of intellectual disability?
Usually, the more severe the degree of intellectual disability, the earlier the signs
can be noticed. However, it might still be hard to tell how young children will be
affected later in life.
There are many signs of intellectual disability. For example, children with intellectual
sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children
learn to talk later, or have trouble speaking
find it hard to remember things
have trouble understanding social rules
have trouble seeing the results of their actions
have trouble solving problems
What can I do if I think my child may have intellectual disability?
Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. If you or your doctor think there could be
a problem, you can take your child to see a developmental pediatrician or other specialist,
and you can contact your local early intervention agency (for children under 3) or
public school (for children 3 and older). Wyoming residents can visit screenforsuccess.org for more resources from the Wyoming Department of Health.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Please visit their website for additional information.
The overarching reason for evaluating and classifying intellectual and developmental
disabilities is to be able to tailor a personalized set of supports for each person
in the form of strategies and services that are to be delivered over a sustained period
The overarching goal of these supports is to enhance the functioning of people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities within their own environment in order
to lead a more successful and satisfying life.
- From American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Current approaches to services and supports emphasize promoting full community inclusion,
enhancing self-direction, and decreasing disparities in health care outcomes.
Services and supports are expected to respect the desires and interests of people
with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and to support
the high quality of life standards desired by all members of society.
Systems of supports are an interconnected network of resources and strategies that
promote the development and interests of a person and enhance an individual’s functioning
and personal well-being. Systems of supports: (a) are characterized by being person-centered,
comprehensive, coordinated, and outcome oriented; and (b) encompass choice and personal
autonomy, inclusive environments, generic supports, and specialized supports.
Wyoming Institute for Disabilities
Dept. 4298; 1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2761
Toll Free: (888) 989-9463
TeleType: (800) 908-7011
Fax: (307) 766-2763