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What is a developmental disability?

According to Missouri Statute, a developmental disability is a disability:

(a) Which is attributable to:

  1. Mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injury or autism, or a learning disability related to a brain dysfunction; or
  2. Any other mental or physical impairment or combination of mental or physical impairments; and

(b) Is manifested before the person attains age twenty-two; and

(c) Is likely to continue indefinitely; and

(d) Results in substantial functional limitations in two or more of the following areas of major life activities, such as:

  1. Self-care;
  2. Receptive and expressive language development and use;
  3. Learning;
  4. Self-direction;
  5. Capacity for independent living or economic self-sufficiency;
  6. Mobility; and

(e) Reflects the person's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, habilitation or other services which may be of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.



For additional information, see the Missouri Department of Mental Health/Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD) web site at



Michelle Reynolds, Director of the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City



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Last update: Wednesday, April 14, 2010



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