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April and May Safety Newsletter ~ ID & DD~ Posted 5/28/21



April and May 2021

Topics include: Working with consumers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Intellectual and Developmental disabilities

Although our main population we deal with is the elderly and physically disabled, we also deal with participant with both Intellectual (ID) and Developmental (DD) Disabilities. I am going to give you the definition of both and speak about a couple types that we deal with in our line of work.

Developmental disabilities

Developmental disabilities are those that appear before 22 years of age. They are life-long disabilities that affect one or both physical and cognitive functioning. Some of these disabilities are physical, like blindness from birth for example. Others are both physical and intellectual disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other genetic causes. Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during development in youth.

The term developmental disability encompasses people with intellectual disabilities but also includes physical disabilities.

Intellectual disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities are known for having below-average IQ/cognitive abilities. Other limitations include the ability to perform everyday functioning activities like self-care, routines, hygiene, as well as adaptive behaviors such as communicating, speaking, walking and socializing.

The causes of intellectual disabilities including physical and genetic factors, problems during pregnancy or at birth, health issues at an early age, or exposure to environmental toxins. Some common syndromes include autism, Down syndrome, and fragile X syndrome. While some will have serious, lifelong limitations, with support, education, and early intervention, adults with intellectual disabilities can lead a satisfying life.

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small “packages” of genes in the body. They determine how a baby’s body forms and functions as it grows during pregnancy and after birth. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21. A medical term for having an extra copy of a chromosome is ‘trisomy.’ Down syndrome is also referred to as Trisomy 21. This extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges for the baby.

Even though people with Down syndrome might act and look similar, each person has different abilities. People with Down syndrome usually have an IQ (a measure of intelligence) in the mildly-to-moderately low range and are slower to speak than other children.

Some features people with Down syndrome may have are:

1. A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose

2. Almond-shaped eyes that slant up

3. A short neck

4. Small ears

5. A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth

6. Tiny white spots on the iris (colored part) of the eye

7. Small hands and feet

8. A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)

9. Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb

10. Poor muscle tone or loose joints

11. Shorter in height as children and adults

Some tips on communicating with people who have Down syndrome

1. Talk About Day-to-Day Activities. Make use of your daily activities as talking points.

2. Use Visual Cues. Communicate with them using visual gestures and signs.

3. Copy the Person's Response.

4. Be Animated in Interacting.

5. Use Repetition. ...

6. Show You Are Pleased.

7. Stay Physically Close.

8. Be Patient.

If you are caring for someone who has Down syndrome it is important to keep them on a routine as well as, directing them if it’s time to use the restroom or get something to eat instead of asking them.

Remember, they may not always be able to communicate a concern as clear as someone else, always take every concern seriously & report it to Maximum Care Promptly.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD have:

1. Difficulty with communication and interaction with other people

2. Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors

3. Symptoms that hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work, and other areas of life

Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Although ASD can be a lifelong disorder, treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism. All caregivers should talk to their doctor about ASD screening or evaluation.

People with ASD have difficulty with social communication and interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors.

The list below gives some examples of the types of behaviors that are seen in people diagnosed with ASD. Not all people with ASD will show all behaviors, but most will show several.

1. Making little or inconsistent eye contact

2. Tending not to look at or listen to people

3. Rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities by pointing or showing things to others

4. Failing to, or being slow to, respond to someone calling their name or to other verbal attempts to gain attention

5. Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation

6. Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond

7. Having facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said

8. Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like

9. Having trouble understanding another person’s point of view or being unable to predict or understand other people’s actions

10. Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia

11. Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts

12. Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects

13. Getting upset by slight changes in a routine

14. Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature

People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability.

Although people with ASD experience many challenges, they may also have many strengths, including:

1. Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time

2. Being strong visual and auditory learners

3. Excelling in math, science, music, or art

Causes and risk factors may include:

1. Having a sibling with ASD

2. Having older parents

3. Having certain genetic conditions—people with conditions such as Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome are more likely than others to have ASD

4. Very low birth weight

Caring for someone with ASD you may need to help them with things such as:

1. Reduce challenging behaviors

2. Learn life-skills necessary to live independently

3. Increase or build upon strengths

4. Learning social, communication, and language skills

*As always, any ideas for future safety newsletters please contact Keri @ or call 610-264-2353*

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