Did You Know?

…how Mary Centre defines “developmental challenge”?*

Every person is limited in one way or another. We aren’t all great cooks or athletes or geniuses.

developmental-disability-RonPeople who are developmentally challenged have trouble learning. They struggle with tasks that others find easy. But in their feelings and emotions, in their range of likes and dislikes, they are more or less like anyone else.

A person can be severely or moderately challenged. It is a permanent condition. And so some need help and support with skills like communication, grooming, mobility and making appropriate decisions.

People who are developmentally challenged are often special in the way they embrace relationships and get people to share. They can make important contributions to their workplace and community.

This is why Mary Centre celebrates developmental challenges.

* Terms used by other organizations include “developmental handicap,” “intellectually challenged,” “developmentally delayed,” “intellectual disability,” “mental handicap” and similar phrases.

A person with a developmental challenge is someone who has a significantly lower than average level of general intellectual functioning. Developmental challenges arise from a variety of causes, for example, difficulties with pregnancy or the birth process, genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome and Fragile X, illnesses such as meningitis and encephalitis.

Most people with developmental challenges lead lives like most of the population. Some may need varying degrees of emotional support or education to live successfully. And others may require extensive support in most areas of their daily lives. Although a person with a developmental challenge learns at a slower pace than the general population, he or she can learn to do many things.


Did you know …that about three in 100 people are diagnosed as developmentally challenged?

…that people who have a developmental disability value the same things as all of us: respect, dignity, friendship?

Group-Home-Resident-Mike…that individuals with developmental challenges were once regarded as “patients.”

In the past, the developmentally challenged were entirely dependent upon custodial care provided in large institutional settings and had few, if any, choices or rights.

Today, people with developmental challenges are now considered full citizens entitled to receive a range of services of their choosing to maintain their quality of life and enjoy full inclusion in society.

…that many adults with developmental challenges are now outliving their parents?

Canadians with developmental disabilities now have a life expectancy that extends beyond mid-life.

Improvements in their health and life expectancy have coincided with a dramatic shift in public and professional attitudes toward them and in approaches to service delivery. Despite these positive trends, however, older adults with a developmental disability are still an under-served and marginalized group.

…that the effects of aging on physical health of individuals who have developmental challenges are the same as for the general population, but often appear at an earlier age?

Rehabilitation Review, May 1999

…that health promotion and disease prevention can have a major impact on the functional ability, quality of life and longevity of seniors with a developmental challenge?

Although sensory, visual or auditory impairments among aging persons with developmental challenges are similar to those in the general population, the degree of impairment may be more severe due to preexisting problems. They may also experience more severe loss of flexibility and may be prone to developing arthritis at a younger age.

You’ll find helpful links to more information about adults with developmental challenges in our resources section.
To learn more about Mary Centre’s 20 year history of Celebrating Developmental Challenges, read our history.