Who Regulates Services For Developmental Disabilities

Most direct developmental disability support professionals did not know that they were actually right for the job. The fact is that most of the never even thought of working with individuals with various developmental disabilities. People just eventually happened upon it. People who provide direct support to the developmental disability services have done many different things. Some people have been healthcare workers, carpenters, computer operators, teachers, retail clerks, waitresses, bartenders, and construction workers.

Other people working for the developmental disabilities start right out of college or are returning to work. Direct support professionals for the developmental disabilities come from many backgrounds and have a wide variety of experiences. But nearly all of the workers feel that working with people with developmental disabilities has added immeasurably to their lives. In almost all of the cases, people who enjoy working directly with individuals with developmental disabilities have discovered a level of personal satisfaction that was often missing in their previous jobs. Working with people with various developmental disabilities often leads to long-term relationships that improve the lives of both people for years to come.

The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative also called the LDDI is a national working group of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. The primary mission of Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative is to foster collaboration among learning and developmental disability organizations, researchers, health professionals and environmental health and justice groups to address concerns about the impact environmental pollutants may have on healthy brain development. Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative currently has around 375 or more organizational and individual members engaged in research, educational and policy efforts. This group of the organization is coordinated by Elise Miller, MEd, and Executive Director of the Institute for Children's Environmental Health.

According to recent surveys on the service providers for developmental disabilities, the incidence of learning and developmental disabilities appears to be rising, affecting about one in six children in the United States under the age of 18. Many factors like social environment, gene expression, heredity, nutrition and chemical contaminants actually contribute to brain development in complex ways. However, the chemical contaminants have historically been the least researched and are the most preventable. Emerging modern science suggests that exposures to certain neurotoxicants such as pesticides, mercury, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants, solvents and other known and suspected neurotoxicants can contribute to neurological problems including learning and developmental disabilities.

Recent research works also shows that the developing fetus and children are chiefly susceptible to environmental exposures. Given this condition of protecting children from exposures to neurotoxicants is starting as early as fetal development is an essential public health measure if there are people to help prevent further increases in Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative. In order to address these sort of issues, Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative was established in May 2002. At the first meeting the initial group of participants of the developmental disability service program determined that the national Learning and Developmental Disabilities sector, with its hundreds of thousands of members, in collaboration with scientists and key environmental health and justice organizations, could be an effective voice for protecting children from toxic hazards related to brain development.