Approaching A Taxonomy 21

By Daly, William C. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2000 | Go to article overview

Approaching A Taxonomy 21


Daly, William C., Journal of Instructional Psychology


This manuscript focuses on persons with developmental disabilities as a group and some of the common conditions or factors associated with that group generally. These are fairly constant and can be considered as principles or formulae that may clarify or help professional neonates. Knowledge and application of these guide posts should also decrease treatment error on the part of team members who happen to be considering the development of short and long range planning

Society has been classifying people, animals and plant life for centuries. It has become a systematic procedure. As well, people who have a variety of disabilities have been placed in groups and sub-groups, a rigorous but semi-scientific accomplishment over the past 100 years. This can result in the development or evolvement of factors (common denominators) which characterize generally the group or sub-group in question.

The following are attempts toward that end. These are generalized concepts based on research and knowledgeable understandings historically passed from one generation to another by way of literature and dialogue. They might be considered as classic and for the most part working principles or formulae for the present and future in the field of cognitive delay/damage. Of course, imperfections in these principles can be found chiefly because people within these groups do not always reveal a single symptom or pat syndrome with identical behavioral outcomes; causes can be many and sometimes in complex combination; personality characteristics and patterns of ability also can vary substantially; a clear set of diagnostic signs with a few exceptions pointing in the direction of a specific condition or disease often do not exist. Someone once said, trying to clarify, "it is a state of impairment" which is an over-simplification and implies a static phenomenon, an incorrect assumption.

Caretakers and members of the treatment team in community facilities may view what follows as relevant knowledge associated with the field and primary introduction to the gamut of care receivers needs. However, human variability within demands services, planning and treatment geared for individuals inside a parameter calling for a self-advocacy human rights and freedom to choose philosophy.

To simplify and retain a strong degree of consistency, the term developmentally disabled (cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation) will be utilized with particular emphasis on the latter. The following is a condensation relative to each topic.

1. Trans Human Characteristics: Everything found in the so-called "normal" person can be found in people with developmental disabilities. Some think personality composition is distinct from other people. This is not so. The same attitudes, traits and characteristics or ways of reacting are manifested by all people; frequency and intensity may vary, but the idea of a continuum persists. The same non-intellective features flavor each personality. Reactions and patterns of adjustment, voluntary or involuntary, play a primary role in how people generally get along in society. These patterns are demonstrated as part of a repertoire by those who are developmentally disabled. They employ common emotional avenues of attack and escape when frustrated with day to day events.

2. DD-MI Dichotomy: At the turn of the century Medical School professors taught that people who were developmentally disabled could not have a psychosis (MI) in tandem. It was either one or the other. The former and the latter were distinct entities, a virtual dichotomy. Anyone with that condition could not be mentally ill, disturbed or emotionally unbalanced. They were not prone to symptoms of psychopathology. Knowledge, at the time may have been most primitive or scholars were unwilling to change this belief. Further, the field at the time relative to the total medical curriculum was usually elegated to one short chapter, a minuscule segment. …

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