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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services

Developmental Disabilities

Millions of people in the United States have developmental disabilities.  A developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability which:

  • Began at birth or during childhood,
  • Is expected to last forever, and
  • Adversely affects an individual's daily living and functioning.

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This disability can be caused by a mental impairment, a physical impairment or combination of both mental and physical.  Developmental disabilities result in limited function in various areas of a person’s life which can include:

  • Caring for oneself;
  • Difficulties with communication;
  • Difficulties with learning;
  • Difficulties with mobility or moving around;
  • Difficulties making decisions for oneself;
  • Difficulties living independently; and
  • Being financially self sufficient.

Fortunately, people who have been diagnosed with developmental disabilities can benefit from comprehensive, long-term services. As a result, individuals often become more active and engaged in daily activities, are more productive and are able to live much more independently. Many times, people with disabilities are able to maintain meaningful employment.  

The Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services defines developmental disabilities this way.

Victims with Disabilities Task Force

  • Coalition of disability advocates, victims' advocates, and others who work with these populations
  • Mission: "to support collaboration among agencies and advocates for
    victims with disabilities to promote justice and prevent violence."
  • Sharing of cross-discipline training resources through regular meetings and e-mail correspondence
  • Heighten awareness of connection between disability and victimization

Recommended Websites*

*DMH/DD/SAS neither endorses, has any responsibility for, nor exercises any control over the organizations' views or the accuracy of the information contained in those web pages outside of DMHDDSAS's website.

For More Information

State Developmental Centers


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