Developmental disabilities are caused by many different kinds of
trauma to the developing brain and nervous system. In many cases
it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the damage or time
when it occurred. Many specific agents are known to cause
developmental disabilities or to be associated with an increased
risk of developing a disability and these are divided into nine
Childhood accidents (including auto accidents, falls, near
drowning, burns, and child abuse).
Drug and toxic substance poisoning (including the use of
alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and other drugs both prescription
and over-the-counter, as well as “street drugs” while pregnant or
through ingestion during childhood).
Genetic disorders (for example: Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs
High-risk conditions in women and infants (for example:
pregnant women under fifteen years of age or over thirty- five
years of age, maternal epilepsy requiring certain drug therapy,
maternal diabetes, maternal history of repeated abortions, fetal
deaths, delivery of very large or very small infants, infectious
diseases during pregnancy, etc.).
Lead poisoning (including lead from paint, lead-glazed
pottery, lead water pipes, and dirt contaminated by automobile
Metabolic disorders (for example: PKU, hypothyroidism, and
RH blood disease.
Intrauterine and other infectious diseases (including
rubella, cytomegalovirus infection, toxoplasmosis, syphilis,
herpes, and enterovirus infections).