Developmental Disability Professionals Day is observed on July 15 every year. This day is all about recognizing the work done by developmental disability professionals, who often go unnoticed despite providing services to some of the most vulnerable people in the country. The National Association for Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Specialists (N.A.Q.), the primary national organization recognizing developmental disability professionals, established the day in 2020.
These professionals include Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (Q.I.D.Ps), case managers, service coordinators, and other titles, depending on which state they work in. They assist people with developmental disabilities through facilitating the provision of residential services, creating employment opportunities, serving as behavior analysts, coordinating medical services, and more.
History of Developmental Disability Professionals Day
‘Qualified Mental Retardation Professional’ (Q.M.R.P.) was the first phrase coined for intermediate care institutions for the developmentally impaired that was used in federal guidelines in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The term ‘mental retardation’ was replaced with “intellectual disability” after the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (C.M.S.) changed the “State Operations Manual Appendix J – Guidance to Surveyors: Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities” to implement a change in terminology and President Barack Obama signed Rosa’s Law in 2010. Thus, several states and organizations changed the designation of a Q.M.R.P. to either ‘Q.D.D.P.’, meaning ‘Qualified Developmental Disability Professional’, or ‘Q.I.D.P.’, meaning ‘Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional’.
C.M.S. changed Appendix J in December 2013 to update the wording used to indicate developmental impairments. Trinity Services workers founded N.A.Q. in 1996 to suit the requirements of Developmental Disability Professionals (D.D.Ps). It is dedicated to addressing historical, conceptual, methodological, and ethical issues related to D.D.Ps. It also provides an avenue to connect with other professionals, share evidence-based best practices, and serve as a resource for learning and continued education.
The National Association of Qualified Mental Retardation Professionals was the name of the organization when it was created. Since most states had turned away from using the term ‘mental retardation,’ except for diagnostic or reporting requirements, in 2009, they changed their name to ‘the National Association of Qualified Developmental Disability Professionals.’ In 2018, they changed their name once again to conform with federal terminology, to ‘the National Association of Qualified Intellectual Disability Professionals.’ And finally, in 2022, they renamed themselves simply as ‘N.A.Q.’
Developmental Disability Professionals Day timeline
It is the first phrase used in federal regulations for intermediate care institutions for the developmentally disabled.
It meets the needs of D.D.Ps — it was formerly known as ‘the National Association of Qualified Mental Retardation Professionals’.
Except for diagnostic or reporting requirements, professionals stop using this term, so the N.A.Q. changes its name to ‘the National Association of Qualified Developmental Disability Professionals.’
The law changes ‘mental retardation’ to ‘intellectual disability’, and thus, Q.M.R.Ps are now known as ‘QDDP’ (‘Qualified Developmental Disability Professional’) or ‘Q.I.D.P.,’ meaning (‘Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional’).
Developmental Disability Professionals Day FAQs
How many types of developmental disabilities are there?
There are seven types: cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, language and learning disorders, hearing loss, and vision impairment.
What causes developmental delay?
Genetic conditions like Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, trauma to the brain, and severe psychosocial trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can cause developmental delay.
What is developmentally delayed?
Developmentally delayed is what is called when a child’s progression through predictable developmental phases slows, stops, or reverses.
How to Observe Developmental Disability Professionals Day
Thank a Q.D.D.P. for what they do
Whether you know, work with, or receive support from a Q.D.D.P., the number one thing you should do on this day is to let them know their work is important and that you’re grateful. You can simply do it in person, send them a letter, a text message, or a video. It’s your call!
Give a gift to a Q.D.D.P.
Another way of showing your appreciation is to give them a present. If you don't know the recipient well enough to know what they'd appreciate, a gift card, chocolates, or a restaurant reservation could suffice.
Host a celebration for Q.D.D.Ps
This is more for employers of Q.D.D.Ps. You could take your employees out to eat or have a small house party with them. It depends on what you think is most appropriate for them.
5 Important Facts About Intellectual Disability
Genetic conditions, problems during pregnancy, problems during labor and birth, or other health problems such as exposure to poisons like lead or mercury, or extreme malnutrition can cause intellectual disability.
It’s the most common developmental disability
In the United States, it is estimated that seven to eight million people have an intellectual disability, affecting one out of every ten families.
Signs in children
Children with an intellectual disability may sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children; learn to talk later, or have difficulty speaking; have trouble remembering things, not understanding how to pay for things, have trouble understanding social rules, have trouble seeing the consequences of their actions, have trouble solving problems, and/or have trouble thinking logically.
A child with an intellectual disability can do well in school but will probably need supplementary aid and help with adaptive skills, such as reading or communicating with others.
Special education for school-aged children is free
Unlike early intervention for babies and toddlers, which depends on the family’s income, special education and related services for school-aged children are free, and in it, the staff will work with the parents to develop an Individualized Education Program.
Why Developmental Disability Professionals Day is Important
Q.D.D.Ps are undervalued
Q.D.D.Ps, like many other health professionals, receive little acknowledgment, thus, they must believe their work is valuable and appreciated. They will remain motivated because of this.
It’s a day to learn about developmental disabilities
We’ve covered some facts about intellectual disabilities in the previous section, but that’s only one type of developmental disability. If you learn more about the other disabilities, you’ll be able to make Q.D.D.Ps’ jobs easier.
It’s a reminder of how political correctness changes over time
When researching this topic, what caught our attention was how the most documented history about Q.D.D.Ps and N.A.Q. was about how the terms they used evolved. What was acceptable years ago is today considered inappropriate or offensive, and that's good. We must change our vocabulary to be more inclusive and courteous to others, particularly if they have a disability.
Developmental Disability Professionals Day dates