Aging and Developmental Disabilities

In today's day and age, individuals with developmental impairments enjoy longer and qualitatively better lives than the previous generations. This is due to the advancement of medical technology and the enhanced standard of human life that comes with communal living instead of institutional living. Numerous people experience the gradual progression of age. Still, for an individual who suffers from any form of developmental impairment, things may feel differently and take on the appearance of unique symptoms as well. For instance, aging-related difficulties may manifest earlier in certain people than the normal average. People may need to modify their support and services in advance in such cases. Age and infirmity can also lead to additional loneliness or prejudice. Sometimes, a caretaker or other guardian might not be sufficient to provide the patient with the required treatment.

What are the five developmental disabilities? 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Having autism spectrum disorder impacts a person's capacity to communicate, engage with others, and perceive the outside environment. Therefore, communicating and engaging with others may be problematic for those with ASD. They frequently exhibit repeated activities or interests as well. These symptoms might manifest from moderate to severe. 

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

The spinal cord and brain are both impacted by cerebral palsy. It can impact coordination, balance, posture, reflexes, muscular tone, and mobility. Cerebral palsy comes in a variety of forms with varying degrees of severity. The most typical signs of neurological issues like intellectual impairments are:

  • Muscular rigidity.
  • Involuntary muscle contractions.
  • Poor motor coordination.
  • Difficulties with eating and speaking.
  • Seizures.
  • Other neurological issues. 

Intellectual Disability (ID)

An individual's capacity to operate daily may be significantly impacted by various substantial cognitive or intellectual impairments, collectively referred to as intellectual disabilities. As a result, they may struggle to communicate properly, recall information, learn new things, and solve difficulties. Intellectual and cognitive functionality deficits, varying from moderate to extreme, are key attributes of people with ID. In addition, based on the specific age group and surroundings, the disease can range from mild to severe.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Compulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and trouble focusing are some signs of ADHD. Functioning in daily life or at school for those with ADHD may be challenging due to these symptoms. In addition, anxiety, sadness, learning difficulties, and autism spectrum disorders are among the problems that can co-occur with ADHD in certain people. 

Learning Disabilities

The capacity of the brain to absorb, interpret, retain and process information is impacted by learning impairments. Therefore, with additional categories like intellectual disability, cognitive problems, or neurodevelopment conditions, the phrase learning disability is frequently used. Learning difficulties are neurological problems rather than mental issues. There are several different kinds of learning difficulties, and they can arise at any age due to various causes, such as genetics, brain damage, or environmental effects.

What is a developmental disability in adults?

According to the National Institutes of Health, cognitive and developmental impairments are conditions that often start during pregnancy or fairly soon after birth and can potentially affect a person's physiological, intellectual, and psychological growth over their lifetime. A new examination of government records for children between the ages of 3 through 17 years shows trends that point to an increase in adults suffering from IDD in the generations to follow.

What are three age-related concerns of adults with developmental disabilities and their families?

Obstacles for Primary Care Physicians

  • Establishing a reliable medical history may be challenging.
  • Having trouble communicating with IDD patients is a common challenge.
  • The office setting may invoke fear among patients, resulting in possible examination resistance.
  • The funding is often lacking in such cases, as is compensation. 

Psychiatric Challenges

  • Chronic diseases may impact or be the root of abnormal behavior.
  • Diagnosis of actual psychiatric diseases can sometimes be challenging.
  • The conduct of an IDD patient can have a negative effect on other patients.
  • Streamlining pharmaceutical regimens is important since medications can sometimes contribute to behavioral issues.

General Issues brought about by age

  • The subject can grow hypersensitive to medicines.
  • The onset of senility can worsen problems with cognitive abilities.
  • Aging can pave the way for the emergence of dementia.
  • Problems with mobility, the musculoskeletal system, and rehabilitation are particularly damaging for IDD patients.
  • Impairments in hearing and vision can limit one's sense of perception.

How do you treat people with developmental disabilities?

One can utilize numerous resources to screen and evaluate adults with IDD, including the Reiss Screen for Maladaptive Behavior, to recognize problematic behavioral patterns. However, additional training is required to ensure that psychiatrists, mental health specialists, clinical staff, and all other front-line staff dealing with these individuals can use the resources.