Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) A
syndrome of learning and behavioral problems that affects concentration,
impulse control, and attention.
Autism A developmental disability originating in infancy,
characterized by staring at space, non response to sounds, and an apparent
lack of interest in other people. Children with autism do not
understand common dangers, such as busy streets, yet some show above normal
skill in isolated areas of mathematics and music.
Cerebral Palsy A group of disorders resulting from brain damage. Cerebral
refers to the brain and palsy to a lack of control over muscles.
Any combination of physical and mental status is possible. Symptoms range
from slight awkwardness of gait to more unconscious movements and an
inability to see, speak, or learn as people without disabilities do. Cerebral
palsy is not always associated with mental retardation.
Developmental disAbilities A severe, chronic set of functional
limitations that result from any physical and/or mental impairment that
manifests itself before age 22.
Down's-syndrome Physical and intellectual development is slow in
people who have Down's syndrome. They will frequently have health
related disorders such as heart defects and respiratory, vision, hearing and
Emotional disturbance. An inability or unwillingness to adjust to
the problems and stresses of daily life. Such disabilities can cause people
to react aggressively to, or withdraw from, situations rather than attempt to
adjust to them.
Learning disAbility. A disorder in one or more of the basic
physiological processes involved in understanding or in using language,
spoken or written. The disorder can manifest itself in, for example, the
ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, do mathematical
calculations, etc. Even though their progress in these skills might be
limited, people with learning disabilities may have average to above average
Mental retardation. People with mental retardation are
limited in their ability to learn and are generally socially immature. Mental
retardation is a condition, not a disease, manifested before age 21. It is
important to realize that people with mental retardation have the same hopes
and emotions as people without it. They learn, but at a slow pace.
Mild retardation. About 90 percent of
people with mental retardation have mild retardation. They are capable of
being educated and, as adults, given proper training, can work in
competitive jobs, live independently, and be a part of daily community life.
Moderate retardation. People with moderate
retardation are sometimes known as trainable mentally retarded
people. They can learn to care for their personal needs and perform many
useful tasks in the home or, as adults, in a sheltered workshop situation.
Profound retardation. People with physical disabilities and
sever impairment in coordination and sensory development, making constant
care necessary, have profound retardation. With special techniques, some can
be taught useful simple tasks and can participate in some limited social
Multiple sclerosis. The chronic, progressive disease of the
neurologic system affects important functions of daily living such as
walking, talking, seeing, eating, tying a shoe, opening a door, etc. There is
no known cure, and the cause has yet to be found.
Physical disability. An impairment that hampers physical,
vocational, or community activities.
Post lingual hearing impairment. A loss of hearing after having
developed speech (usually after reaching 6 years of age). People with these
disabilities have some understandable speech or at least can make speech like
sounds, might "sign," have a hearing aid, etc.
Pre lingual hearing impairment. An impairment caused by being born
deaf or losing hearing before acquiring speech or syntax. People with these
disabilities make up 95 percent of the school age deaf population.
Seizure disorders. Not a disease, but a malfunction of the manner
in which cells of the brain release energy, characterized by sudden seizures
involving muscle convulsions and partial or total loss of consciousness. It
can sometimes be controlled through use of medication.
Speech/language disorders. A communication disorder, such as
stuttering, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Spinal cord injury. Paralysis of parts of the body, usually the
result of an accident.
Tourette Syndrome. Tourette syndrome (TS) is an inherited,
neurological disorder characterized by repeated involuntary movements and
uncontrollable vocal (phonic) sounds called tics. In a few cases, such tics
can include inappropriate words and phrases.
Traumatic brain injury. An injury to the brain by an external
physical force, resulting in the impairment of one or more of the following
areas: speech, memory, attention, reasoning, judgment, problem solving, motor
abilities, and psychosocial behavior. Impairments may be temporary or
Visual impairments. An inability to see. An individual who is
legally blind can see no more at a distance
of 20 feet than a person without visual impairment can see at a distance of
Functional blindness is generally defined as the inability to
read newspaper type even with the best possible corrective lenses, or to
perform ordinary tasks necessary to daily living.