In the United States, about 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, movement, learning, self-help, and living by themselves. These disabilities can begin anytime during development up to age 22. Developmental disabilities usually last throughout a person's lifetime.
The specific cause of most developmental disabilities is unknown. They may result from an interaction between genetic, environmental, and social factors. Many developmental disabilities are inherited and cannot be prevented. But some can be prevented or lessened by having a healthy pregnancy, by detecting and treating conditions early, and by preventing harmful exposures and injuries.
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