Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Exploring The Types

Every child is different. They have their unique quirks, habits, and behaviors. They also have a different pace for reaching developmental milestones. Some children learn to talk at an easy age but take a long time to start walking and vice versa. In fact, two twin siblings born together can also have varying patterns of growth and might reach milestones at different times.

These temporary delays are nothing to worry about, and most children overcome them by the time they grow up to be teenagers. However, if your child has been growing through multiple and prolonged delays in hitting developmental milestones, it might be a sign of something deeper. Developmental disabilities are a class of disorders that affect your child’s psychological, behavioral, and physical development. These conditions can be highly stressful and challenging for the child and the family. 

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is marked every year in March to highlight the unique needs of children with developmental disabilities. It aims to spread awareness about the impact of such disorders on individuals and their family members.

First marked by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is now a global phenomenon focusing on the barriers individuals with developmental disabilities face while connecting with the rest of the world and living their life. It is a time to address the stigma around development disorders and provide an open and empathetic environment to those dealing with them.

National Developmental Disabilities Month is also the perfect time to raise awareness about and shed light on the various types of developmental disorders affecting individuals. 

To help you become a part of the awareness cycle this National Developmental Disabilities Month, let us dive deeper into the types of developmental disorders.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Understanding The Various Types Of Developmental Disorders

1. Autism

Autism is a complex and lifelong neurological developmental disorder that affects every one in 44 children in America, as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The condition is often associated with several psychological, social, behavioral, and academic challenges. People with autism struggle with social communication and understanding social cues like body language and gestures. They have limited interests, indulge in repetitive behavior, and can often be over-sensitive to specific sounds, tastes, etc.

2. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is another common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 6.1 million children in America, per the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 2018. While it is normal for children to have difficulty focusing, those with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors eventually. Children with ADHD continue to have severe difficulty focusing on things, are hyperactive, and are often impulsive. These symptoms can get severe and cause challenges at home and school. 

Read more: ADHD Awareness Month – People With ADHD Share Their Experience

3. Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is not a single condition. It is actually a group of disorders defined by their ability to impact balancing and moving skills in people. In fact, as per CDC, two to three children out of every 1000 children in America have cerebral palsy making it the most common motor disability in children. Cerebral palsy is associated with abnormalities in the development of the brain or severe damage to a developing brain, eventually affecting a person’s ability to control their muscles. 

4. Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the abnormal presence of an extra 21 chromosomes. This extra chromosome contributes to developmental and physical changes in children. As per CDC, every year, around 600 babies are born with down’s syndrome. It is the most common form of learning disability and genetic disorder found in children. It leads to several other disorders, including heart conditions and kidney functioning-related disorders.

Read more: Selective Mutism Awareness Month

5. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a form of learning disability disorder that affects around 15% of the population of the United States, as per the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dyslexia causes reading difficulties, with individuals facing problems in understanding different speech sounds. A failure to identify speech sounds makes it harder for people to understand how they relate to specific words and letters. Dyslexia is caused by differences in the areas of the brain associated with processing language. 


National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to understand the various forms of developmental disorders affecting individuals. These conditions require early diagnosis and treatment to help patients properly. By learning about the various disorders, you can identify possible warning signs and help people around you. The National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month also urges to shed the stigma associated with developmental delays and disorders and provide an empathetic and supportive space for individuals and families. 

Apart from Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the Mental Illness Awareness Week also paves the way to understanding spread awareness about various psychological disorders. To read more about it, click here.

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