Legal Definition: Developmental Disabilities
From the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act
The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (AB 846) defines “developmental disability” as a disability attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or other handicapping conditions found to be closely related to mental retardation or to require treatment similar to that required for individuals with mental retardation. Developmental Disability, according to the California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Â§54000, originates before the age of eighteen, continues indefinitely (i.e., for a lifetime), and constitutes a substantial disability for the individual. Developmental Disability does not include handicapping conditions that are solely psychiatric or solely due to learning disabilities. Developmental Disability does not include physical disorders which are not associated with neurological impairment that results in a need for treatment similar to that required for mental retardation.
“Substantial Disability” (Title 17, Â§54001) means a condition which results in major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning. A substantial disability means the existence of significant functional limitations in three or more of the following major life activities: communication, learning, self-care, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. Moreover, a substantial disability represents a condition of sufficient impairment to require interdisciplinary planning and coordination of special or generic services to assist the individual in achieving maximum potential.