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Developmental Day Center

A facility that offers services designed to assist preschool and school-aged children with disabilities develop basic skills such as self-help skills, fine- and gross-motor coordination, language, communication and cognitive and social skills.

Developmental Disability (DD) (As defined by federal law)

(A) means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that— (i) is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; (ii) is manifested before the individual attains age 22; (iii) is likely to continue indefinitely; (iv) results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity: (I) Self-care. (II) Receptive and expressive language. (III) Learning. (IV) Mobility. (V) Self-direction. (VI) Capacity for independent living. (VII) Economic self-sufficiency; and (v) reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration.

Developmental Disability (DD) (As defined by North Carolina General Statute)

North Carolina General Statute 122C-3(12a) defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic disability of a person which is attributable to mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the person attains age 22, unless the disability is caused by traumatic head injury and is manifested after age 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: (a) self-care, (b) reception (understanding) and expressive language, (c) learning, (d) mobility (ability to move), (e) self-direction (motivation), (f) the capacity for independent living, (g) economic self-sufficiency; reflects the person’s need for a combination or sequence of special interdisciplinary services which are of a lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated; or when applied to children from birth through four years of age, may be evidenced as developmental delay.

Direct Support Professional (DSP)

Personal care assistants, home care aides, or staff in community residential supports programs that assist people with disabilities with medications, preparing and eating meals, dressing, mobility, and handling daily affairs.

Down Syndrome

A genetic condition caused by a chromosomal abnormality.  Atypical cell development results in 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46 chromosomes.  As a result, there is some degree of cognitive disability and other developmental delays.  Common physical features of Down syndrome include small stature, decreased muscle tone, flattened bridge of the nose and upward slant to the eyes.

Dual Diagnosis

Co-occurrence of mental health disorders and a developmental disability or other disability such as substance abuse.

Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT)

EPSDT is a mandatory benefit that entitles children enrolled in Medicaid to all services authorized by federal Medicaid law, including services considered optional for other populations and services not covered by most private insurance. The service limits that states can impose for adults cannot be applied to children, for whom all medically necessary care is covered. In addition to the diagnosis and treatment services covered by most private insurance, EPSDT covers screening and early intervention services to promote children’s healthy development, vision, dental and hearing services, scheduling and other administrative services, and care to ameliorate acute and chronic physical and mental health conditions.

Early Intervention

Services for children with or at risk for developmental disabilities, delays or atypical development. Services may address communication, motor, cognitive, self-help and social-emotional development. Early intervention also includes assisting families in fully accessing community resources such as child service coordination, assistive technology, and speech, physical and occupational therapy.

Emergency Preparedness

is being ready for an emergency or unexpected natural disaster. Being prepared involves having an emergency supply kit; making a family emergency plan; and being informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur in your area and their appropriate responses


The act of enabling individuals with disabilities and the families of people with disabilities to exercise control in their lives by becoming the primary decision makers about the services and supports they are to receive, where they will live/work/go to school, etc.


The process that individuals use to find and evaluate opportunities and risks, and then develop and execute plans for translating those opportunities and risks into financial self-sufficiency.


A physical condition that occurs when there is a sudden, brief change in the brain.  This abnormal electrical activity in the brain can cause a person’s consciousness, movement, or actions to be altered for a short time—called an epileptic seizure.  Epilepsy is also called a seizure disorder.

Extended School Year (ESY)

pecial education and related services provided beyond the normal school year, in accordance with the child's IEP and at no cost to the parents.

Family Centered

Approach to planning and implementing services for children with disabilities and their families which makes the family, not just the child, the focus of intervention. Family-centered approaches make family members key participants in developing services and supports and in deciding when, where and how often these will be provided.

Family-Support Services

Services, supports and other assistance provided to families of individuals with disabilities. Such services are designed to strengthen the family’s role as primary caregiver, prevent inappropriate out-of-home placement, maintain family unity, and reunite families with children who have been placed out of the home.

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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
984-920-8200 (Office/TTY)
984-920-8201 (Fax)
This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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