Developmental Disabilities

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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  • Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) U.S. Government organization responsible for implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, known as the DD Act. ADD, its staff and programs, are part of the Administration for Community Living, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) is an international organization that promotes evidence-based teaching, collaboration, research, leadership, and advocacy. CLD is comprised of professionals who represent diverse disciplines and are committed to enhancing the education and quality of life for individuals with learning disabilities and others who experience challenges in learning.
  • Developmental Delay Resources supports the inter-relationship of physical, cognitive and social-emotional development of children whose delays are on a continuum from mild to severe. Delays include, but are not limited to, sensory-motor deficits, speech.language disorders, attention deficits, learning disabilities, pervasive developmental disorder and autism.
  • Developmental Disabilities Resource Center provides leading-edge services that create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families to participate fully in the community.
  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Disabilities and Human Development aims to improve the quality of life of persons with disorders of thinking, learning, perception, communication, mood, and emotion caused by disruption of typical development.
  • J. P. Das Developmental Disabilities Centre University of Alberta Department of Educational Psychology [Canada]
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is a national, member-driven organization consisting of 55 State and Territorial Councils. NACDD advocates and continually works towards positive system change on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
  • NY State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is an independent, New York State government agency charged with improving the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities and protecting their rights.
  • President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) provides advice concerning intellectual disabilities to the President or the Secretary of Health and Human Services. PCPID also provides advice to the President concerning expansion of educational opportunities, promotion of homeownership, assurance of workplace integration, improvement of transportation options, expansion of full access to community living, and increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies.
  • RH Incompatibility (also known as the Rhesus factor) can cause developmental abnormalities to children following a first normal pregnancy because of damage to the brain if the condition is not detected early and treated during the pregnancy. Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Without enough red blood cells, the fetus won't get enough oxygen. This can lead to serious problems such as anemia, brain damage, jaundice, and heart damage in second- and third-born children. Additional pregnancies may end with the death of the fetus.

    …Each of the four blood types [A, B, AB, O] is additionally classified according to the presence of another protein on the surface of the [red blood cells (RBCs)] that indicates the Rh factor. If you carry this protein, you are Rh positive. If you don't carry the protein, you are Rh negative. If a woman who is Rh negative and a man who is Rh positive conceive a baby, there is the potential for a baby to have a health problem.

    Rh incompatibility usually isn't a problem if it's the mother's first pregnancy because, unless there's some sort of abnormality, the fetus's blood does not normally enter the mother's circulatory system during the course of the pregnancy.

    However, during delivery, the mother's and baby's blood can intermingle. If this happens, the mother's body recognizes the Rh protein as a foreign substance and can begin producing antibodies (protein molecules in the immune system that recognize, and later work to destroy, foreign substances) against the Rh proteins introduced into her blood.

    Other ways Rh-negative pregnant women can be exposed to the Rh protein that might cause antibody production include blood transfusions with Rh-positive blood, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy.

    Rh antibodies are harmless until the mother's second or later pregnancies. If she is ever carrying another Rh-positive child, her Rh antibodies will recognize the Rh proteins on the surface of the baby's blood cells as foreign, and pass into the baby's bloodstream and attack those cells. This can lead to swelling and rupture of the baby's RBCs. A baby's blood count can get dangerously low when this condition, known as hemolytic or Rh disease of the newborn, occurs.

    Rh incompatibility rarely causes complications in a first pregnancy and does not affect the health of the mother. But Rh antibodies that develop during subsequent pregnancies can be potentially dangerous to mother and child. Rh disease can result in severe anemia, jaundice, brain damage, and heart failure in a newborn. In extreme cases, it can cause the death of the fetus because too many RBCs have been destroyed.

    If you're not sure what your Rh factor is and think you're pregnant, it's important to start regular prenatal care as soon as possible – including blood-type testing.