When most people look at those with developmental disabilities, they physically see different facial features, different body builds, overweight frames, and some with bad body hygiene. Because of their outward appearance, a lot of people don’t take into consideration that these people have a mind and feelings, but at a different level of cognitive ability. Their level of learning has to be specialized in order for them to understand and actually act upon what they have learned.
The main aspect of this specialized learning has to be repetition. The brain capacity of those developmentally disabled, even when it is a brain injury that occurred later in life, does not learn after only one lesson of teaching, but has to be taught repetitively over and over until the brain learns that this is a daily function that has to be maintained. A lot of teaching facilities for children don’t have a lot of time during a year to teach all of what is expected.
One day, at maximum, is spent upon basic life skills and daily functioning. There are more days spent upon how to multiply or divide double digit numbers, which those who are developmentally disabled are unable to comprehend because they didn’t comprehend the single digit adding, let alone multiplication and division. Because of this type of teaching in early education, the repetition isn’t done enough for them to understand and to remember.
Even special education classes don’t provide enough repetition to sustain the abilities for an optimal daily functioning level. When those children grow up, they may have the outward appearance of being unkempt, improper clothes, overweight, and bad hygiene. A lot of parents either don’t think their children need special hygiene or medical care because they are mentally disabled or, which in most cases, they don’t have the adequate funding.
The funding for the developmentally disabled isn’t meeting what it can to insure that they have medical coverage along with any additional teaching or learning that they might need to live a daily lifestyle without the aid of parents or guardians. The prevalence of mental retardation (MR) is 1% of United States population and this is out of 2. 5 million people (Fisher, 2004). According to the Association of Retarded Citizens, 1 out of every 10 families is affected by a child with a developmental disability (Fisher, 2004).
The average life expectancy of older adults with MR is 66. 1 years, and the younger adults with MR are expected to live as long as their peers who do not have MR, which in 1997 was 76. 5 years (Anderson, Lakin, Mangan, & Prouty, 1998; Horwitz, Kerker, Owens, Zigler, 2000). With these numbers, younger MR patients are going to live longer which means that health care coverage is going to be extended were in the past, life expectancy didn’t extend as long and health coverage wasn’t needed for a long period of time.
There are also studies that have focused upon health risks and the mentally disabled. People with MR have increased prevalence of thyroid disease, mental health disorders, seizure disorders, obesity, ocular anomalies, and poor oral health (Kennedy, McCombie, Dawes, McConnell, & Dunnigan, 1997; King, 1993; Nespoli, Burgio, Ugazio, & Maccario, 1993). When in need of coverage, families may be unaware of what their private insurance or public programs (i. e. , Medicaid or Medicare) cover in regard to dental costs (Fisher, 2004).