What Is Developmental Cognitive Disability?


An individual with below average intellectual functioning is said to be suffering from developmental cognitive disability. The individual lacks proper adaptive behavior, which hinders his educational performance. So, he may need special education and care.

Cognitive disabilities should not be confused with the after effects of a trauma, multiple disorder or physical disability. There are two criteria used to determine whether a person has cognitive disability.

In the first instance, the individual has Developmental Cognitive Disability (DCD) if the individual’s adaptive behavior is below average in school or at home or in normal social surroundings. Here below average has a very broad interpretation. To be more precise, the individual suffers from DCD if he scores less than 15% in a carefully devised and nationally recognized scale of adaptive behavior.

Adaptive behaviors include, among others, independent living skill and day-to-day living, social skills, interpretational skill, communication and academic skill, work related skill, interpersonal skill, and social interaction skill.

According to the second criterion, if the individual shows intellectual functioning below average, according to a carefully devised and nationally recognized scale of the intellectual functioning, he will be bracketed within DCD. Here below average connotes: moderate range and severe range.

The confirmation and extent of DCD has be verified by consulting teachers or parents, going through family history, clinical tests, appropriate analysis and observation or through some oral or written tests prescribed. An individual suffering from developmental cognitive disabilities may sometime pose   problems for others.

They may show some strange behaviors detrimental to others. It includes hitting others, frequent spitting, tendency of self-injury, shouting aimlessly causing embarrassing to others. All these may affect public attitude towards them negatively. Moreover, there are some cases where people take advantage of the incapability of the DCD, and try to exploit them both physically and emotionally. There is a strong need to curb this kind of tendency.