Autism: A developmental condition present from early childhood characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. The cause of autism in children is unknown, but researchers generally believe that it stems from a problem in the central nervous system.
Cerebral palsy: An impairment of muscular function and weakness of the limbs caused by lack of oxygen to the brain immediately after birth, brain injury during birth, or a viral infection. Often accompanied by poor motor skills, it sometimes involves speech and learning difficulties.
Child: The word “child,” “boy,” or “girl” in this report refers to anyone under the age of 18. Although the Iranian civil and penal codes consider 15 lunar years and 9 lunar years as the age of maturity for boys and girls, respectively, the 2013 Law on Protection of Children without Guardians or with Incompetent Guardians as well as the State Welfare Organization’s rules and practice define a child as anyone under 18.
Organizations of People with Disabilities (DPOs): Organizations in which people with disabilities constitute the majority of members and the governing body and who work to promote self-representation, participation, equality, and integration of people with disabilities.
Down syndrome: A condition in which a person is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. People with Down’s syndrome can have hearing problems and problems with the intestines, eyes, thyroid, and skeleton, as well as intellectual disabilities.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A psychiatric shock therapy that consists of placing electrodes on the patient’s head and passing electricity through the brain to stimulate an artificial seizure. ECT is generally prescribed for severe depression, mania, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions when other treatment has failed to work or for quicker results. In its modified form, ECT is administered under general anesthesia, with muscle relaxants, and oxygenation and can result in headaches as well as short-term memory loss. A typical course of ECT involves six to twelve sessions given two to three times a week.
Intellectual disability [formerly labeled “mental retardation”] is a disability characterized by variations in reasoning, learning, problem solving and in adaptive behavior. Adaptive behavior can include comprehension and participation in a conversation, understanding and following social norms, and performing activities such as getting dressed and using the restroom.
Psychosocial disability is the preferred term to describe the experience of persons with mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. “Psychosocial disability” relates to the interaction between psychological differences and social/cultural limits for behavior as well as the stigma that society attaches to persons with these conditions.