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

Developmental Disabilities

Definition of Developmental Disability

(12a)   "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 ore 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.

 (22)  "Mental retardation" means significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested before age 22.

(23)  "Mentally retarded with accompanying behavior disorder" means an individual who is mentally retarded and who has a pattern of maladaptive behavior that is recognizable no later than adolescence and is characterized by gross outbursts of rage or physical aggression against other individuals or property.

Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 

In a Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI, the brain has been damaged by blow or injury to the head. This injury can result in both physical and mental limitations. Physical symptoms may include clumsiness, dizziness, headaches and fatigue. Behavioral symptoms may include irritability, outbursts, and changes in personality. Other symptoms can include difficulty with finding the correct word, difficulty with memory and with learning new skills, reduced concentration, slowed thinking, slowed reading and slowed speaking. In the state of North Carolina, by law, TBI is covered under developmental disabilities. Therefore, TBI services are provided through the Mental Health / Developmental Disabilities / Substance Abuse system. Ready NC Connect NC