Definition of Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

Below are Federal and State definitions for developmental disabilities. While the NCCDD is a state council, its purpose is federally mandated. As a result, the NCCDD is guided by this federal definition for the vast majority of its activities.

Federal Definition of DD

The term "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

(i) is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;

114 STAT. 1684 PUBLIC LAW 106-402-OCT. 30, 2000

(ii) is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
(iii) is likely to continue indefinitely;
(iv) results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:

(I) Self-care.
(II) Receptive and expressive language.
(III) Learning.
(IV) Mobility.
(V) Self-direction.
(VI) Capacity for independent living.
(VII) Economic self-sufficiency; and

(v) reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

(B) INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN - An individual from birth to age 9, inclusive, who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting 3 or more of the criteria described above if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.

North Carolina Definition of DD

North Carolina General Statute 122C-3(12a) definition of a developmental disability

"Developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of a person which:

a. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
b. Is manifested before the person attains age 22, unless the disability is caused by a traumatic head injury and is manifested after age 22;
c. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
d. Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, capacity for independent living, learning, mobility, self-direction and economic self-sufficiency; and
e. Reflects the person's need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of a lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated; or
f. When applied to children from birth through four years of age, may be evidenced as a developmental delay

Federal and North Carolina Differences

The primary difference between Federal and State definitions of developmental disabilities lies in an added clause in the State's definition to account for Traumatic Brain Injury which may be acquired after 22 years of age.