SWK 301 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Developmental Disability, Assisted Living, Hypotonia

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Intro to Social Work Chapter 8
Individuals with Physical, Cognitive, or Developmental Challenges
o Over 54 million Americans (about 20%)
Due to accidents, genetic diseases, and illnesses
o Limitations, stigma, discrimination, and abuse
o Poverty and loss of dignity
o Laws for disability rights and disability activism
o Old attitudes, labeling language, and stereotypes
o Quality of life issues
o NASW Code of Ethics: worth of dignity of all people
o Despite this, people with challenges are often marginalized
o Stereotypes continue to persist rather than accurate depictions
o Social Workers can assist in equalizing access
Definitions of Disability
o Temporary or permanent reduction in function
o Social workers prefer the more positive term: physical and
cognitive challenges and abilities.
o Can Include: physical or health-related, psychosocial, sensory,
mental or psychiatric, cognitive or learning, neurological,
intellectual, and developmental disabilities
o Specific criteria to meet the definition of disabled, regarding
ability to work:
Condition substantially limits a major life activity
Has a history of disability (ex. Cancer in remission)
Impairment expected to last 12+ months that is severe and
interferes with normal functions of living
Qualifying for Legal Protection
o Condition that substantially limits a major life activity
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For ex.: Hearing, learning, seeing, talking, and walking
o History of a disability
For ex.: cancer that is in remission
o Physical or mental impairment
For ex.: Severe and interferes with normal activities of
living; has existed for at least 12 months
Types of Physical, Cognitive, and Developmental Challenges
o Co-occurring disabilities: a client having more than one disability
o Categorical disabilities: significant sensory impairments or
mental illnesses, coupled with developmental delays
o Functional disabilities: limits to a person’s ability to perform
daily activities, and can often be helped with assistive
devices/technology
Developmental Disabilities
o Severe chronic disability that appears before age 22
May be genetic or due to other factors
Disability rights for people with developmental challenges
have become an area of greater focus
o Examples:
Autism:
Neurobiological disorder appears by age 3
Causes problems with communication, social
interaction, leisure/play
Wide range of functioning levels
Cerebral Palsy
Chronic condition affecting muscle/limb
development/movement, coordination
Typically, no nerve damage; caused by damage to
areas of the brain
Brain changes are not progressive but may manifest
differently over time
Down Syndrome
Also known as trisomy 21
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Chromosomal disorder
Impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth
Distinctive facial appearance
Epilepsy
Brain disorder that causes recurring seizures
Most cases occur in developing countries
Causes unknown but can include brain injury and
drug/alcohol misuse
Onset can come later in life as well
Controllable but not curable; kills thousands every
year
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Pattern of physical/mental defects due to a pregnant
mother’s alcohol consumption
One of the most common causes of intellectual
disability; the only totally preventable cause
Causes physical malformations (including facial and
brain development abnormalities) as well as
behavioral problems
Fragile X Syndrome
A common cause of intellectual disabilities
Inherited condition
Causes autism-like symptoms, include delays in
speech/language
Prader-Willi Syndrome
Most commonly known genetic cause of life-
threatening obesity in children
Brain does not accurately detect feelings of fullness
or hunger
Babies have poor muscle tone and trouble sucking
Other signs appear later, including physical and
intellectual problems
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