Educators, administrators, and service personnel who work with the developmentally disabled must define the aged developmentally disabled population. The term "developmental disability" refers to an individual with substantial developmental problems manifested during the first 22 years of life. Those who became disabled after age 22 are classified as a separate group; sub-classifications of these groups are necessary in order that adequate services be provided. Service providers in the fields of aging and developmental disabilities have traditionally paid little attention to the aging developmentally disabled individual. All aging individuals, whether or not developmentally disabled, must face the emotional needs of self-worth and integrity; the inevitability of death; and medical, vocational, educational, residential, and social needs. Differences between the developmentally and non-developmentally disabled aged suggest areas for service delivery concern, i.e.: (1) society's attitude toward differences; (2) behavior patterns of the disabled which maintain learned helplessness; and (3) difficulties in coping and dealing with death. (NRB)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (Portland, OR, October 22-25, 1980).