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The Prevalence, Effects and Challenges of Developmental Disabilities Report

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Updated: May 1st, 2022

Introduction

A survey by the Center for Family, Policy, and Research (2010) revealed an increase in federal expenditure on people with developmental disabilities in the United States. For instance, in 2004, the national annual expenditure on developmental disabilities had exponentially increased from 8.3 billion dollars in 1965 to 82.57 billion dollars in 2004. This was a marked increase since the Kennedy Panel of 1961. While the increase in the number of people with developmental disabilities is attributed to the rising numbers of the aging population, disabilities may arise in childhood and affect the entire lives of people (Hallahan & Kauffman, 2003).

Persons who are developmentally disabled experience difficulty in performing activities such as learning, mobility, and self-care routines. Some authors e.g., Smart (2009) has expanded the term developmental disabilities to include mental retardation and other neurological disorders. This report aims to highlight the prevalence, effects, and challenges of developmental disabilities and my experience during my internship at Light House Home.

As a student of health care and medicine majoring in healthcare, I work as an intern employee at Light House Home, an assisting living facility that cares for developmental and disabled people located at 1201 Davis Street San Francisco. I work hand in hand with the administration under the close supervision of Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, the administrator of Lighthouse Home for the Developmental and Disabled. In the facility, the members of staff work with three main divisions of disabled people.

The first division is from comprises those from infancy to about three years old, the second division comprises children and youth of school-going age and the third division comprises developmental and disabled people over 21 years old. Working hand in hand with the administration, especially Mrs. Elizabeth Smith is reflective of my major interest in becoming a health care manager and administrator and it solidifies my commitment towards enhancing the health status and the quality of life of developmentally disabled people through holistically addressing their needs.

Method

As an intern dealing in health care management administration, my responsibilities include making sure developmentally disabled people access high-quality care and better quality of life. In addition, I ensure that all departments function efficiently and effectively by overseeing different departments such as nursing, dietary, social services, housekeeping, building maintenance, admissions, laundry, resident activities, records, and business office. With the broad range of duties to oversee, I delegate some responsibilities to the departmental heads, especially regarding issues and responsibilities which concern their departments.

I also balance the needs and quality of life of developmentally disabled individuals with the needs of their families, staff, and the facility and make sure that records are well maintained by overseeing operations of the records department. In collaboration with staff members, I help the developmentally disabled and their families to deal with the end of life issues e.g., depression, settling issues in their families, and complexities of different medical conditions.

I also ensure that counseling sessions are active and disabled people are attached to support groups. A bottom line to all my responsibilities is that I balance the needs and quality of life of disabled individuals with the needs of their families, staff, and the facility. Working at Light House Home has acted as a foundation in my career as I have developed numerous skills, especially regarding how issues of the developmentally disabled should be addressed (i.e., from a holistic perspective).

Literature Review and Analysis

Literature review

The literature review focuses on the prevalent numbers of people with developmental disabilities, the challenges they face, and the likelihood that they will seek the services of assisting facilities like Light House Home for the Developmentally Disabled. According to the Center for Family, Policy, and Research (2010), the majority of people above 65 years old are likely to be affected by developmental disabilities and most of them are poor and have experienced traumatic events or possess existing health challenges which make them enter foster health care or rehabilitative system.

Further studies by Smart (2009) also point out that approximately 22.2 million persons with disabilities in the United States are aged between 21 and 64 years, though the majority who visit help facilities are adults above 30 years. In addition, Smart points out that the majority of people including health care providers are aging and this has established the need for new employees and family caregivers to provide rehabilitative care for people who are significantly affected by disability (Smart 2009).

According to Braddock (2007), 17% of children below 18 years are affected by developmental disabilities. Braddock further points out that developmental disabilities are more common in populations that live in poverty. Research studies by Braddock (2007) have also estimated that approximately 20-25% of households that receive welfare donations have a child or adult who suffers from a developmental disability.

In addition, Braddock also points out that people who are developmentally disabled e.g., youth are more likely to suffer abuse and as such, their influx into the foster care system is high. Similar literature has also been posed by Scally (2003) who conducted a study at the University of California, San Francisco in 1996. According to Scally (2003), the rise in disability in older individuals is due to chronic diseases such as arthritis, bronchitis, and diabetes. Scaly further reveals that 60% of disabled individuals in the United States lied between the age of 18 years and 64 years.

Analysis

The situation at Light House Home is similar to findings by the Center for Family, Policy, and Research (2010) (explained in the literature review) regarding the health challenges and traumatic events experienced by developmental and disabled people. This is because, at Light House Home, approximately 80% of the developmental and disabled people experience other health challenges apart from disability. Furthermore, 5% of the developmental and disabled people in the facility experienced trauma either psychologically or physically apart from the challenge posed by disability.

The impact of the health challenges and traumatic events (mentioned above) on the lives of the developmental and disabled people at Light House Home was also similar to findings by the Center for Family, Policy, and Research (2010) as almost half of the population of disabled people experienced other health challenges and some were readmitted into the facility because of these challenges. However, about studies conducted by Smart (2009) (explained in the literature review) which revealed that the majority of disabilities in the United States are aged from 21-64 years, the situation at Light House Home was contrary as the majority of the cases of disability were aged below 20 years.

The situation at Light House Home is similar to studies by (Braddock, 2007) as a majority (about 85%) of the developmentally disabled come from poor backgrounds. Regarding Braddock’s findings on the likelihood of abuse and influx into the care institution, the situation is Similar at Light House Home as 30% of the adults (especially youth) in the institution have a history of abuse, either physically or emotionally which prompted them to seek care at the institution.

Of the 30% of adults, two-thirds came from a poor background, which agrees with Braddock’s position. The case at Light House Home is also similar to Scally’s position, as the majority i.e.,75% of the adult disabled people had chronic conditions such as arthritis, and diabetes which caused disability. Since Scally (2003) conducted her study in San Francisco, the situation at Light House Home has been and is almost similar to Scally’s position regarding the relationship between chronic health conditions and disability.

Conclusion

With the increasing numbers of developmental and disabled people in the United States of America and the world, the role of assisting and rehabilitative facilities (such as the Light House Home for the Developmentally Disabled People) is almost imperative and inevitable. The above report has explained and focused on the prevalent numbers of people with developmental disabilities, the health challenges (and other challenges) they face, and the likelihood that they will seek the existing services of assisting living facilities.

The above issues have been explored concerning Light House Home which is an assisting living facility that cares for developmental and disabled people of different age groups from different parts of the United States. The internship experience at Light House Home (located at 1201 Davis street San Francisco) has been instrumental and has exponentially shaped my health care management and administration skills, especially about understanding and addressing issues of developmental and disabled people from a holistic perspective.

References

Braddock, D. (2007). Washington rises: Public financial support for intellectual disability in the United States, 1955-2004. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Review, 13, 169-177.

Center for Family, Policy and Research (2010). Poverty and Developmental Disabilities: Improving the Lives of Families and Individuals. Web.

Hallahan, D.P. & Kauffman, J.M. (2003). Exceptional learners: Introduction to special education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Scally, R. (2003). Nurses Caring for the Disabled and Chronically Ill Find Work Challenging, Fulfilling. Web.

Smart, C. (2009). Disability, society, and the individual. Texas: Austin Publishing.

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IvyPanda. "The Prevalence, Effects and Challenges of Developmental Disabilities." May 1, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prevalence-effects-and-challenges-of-developmental-disabilities/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "The Prevalence, Effects and Challenges of Developmental Disabilities." May 1, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prevalence-effects-and-challenges-of-developmental-disabilities/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'The Prevalence, Effects and Challenges of Developmental Disabilities'. 1 May.

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