When people think of gene therapy, they may conjure up images of terminator type robots driving around with a gene in their hands and surgically inserting it into a patient. The truth is that human genes are very complex, and sometimes very difficult to comprehend. Gene therapy represents a new approach to the treatment of certain genetic disorders. It is currently being used to treat muscular dystrophy, Alopecia Areata, and cancers of the lung, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and kidney. Scientists and medical professionals around the world are eager to learn more about this mysterious force that is called “genetic memory”. In this brief introduction to chapter 11 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we will take a brief look at what the chapter covers, and why it may be helpful to individuals with genetic disorders.
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Chapter eleven of the ADA outlines three categories of genetic disorders: mental retardation, muscular weakness, and learning disabilities. This chapter provides an overview of genetic testing, and briefly outlines the process by which patients can be screened for genetic disorders. After discussing some of the most common genetic disorders, the chapter concludes with a useful discussion of the importance of genetic counseling for patients and their families. Some helpful topics for discussing genetic testing include genetic differences between members of a family, the benefits of genetic counseling, and the importance of genetic testing for genetic disorders.
One important component of genetic counseling involves determining the accuracy and appropriateness of genetic tests. Chapter 11 goes over how to use genetic testing for genetic counseling. The guidelines allow genetic counselors to determine if a patient’s genetic history is normal or may require additional testing. Also, genetic counselors are informed about the safety and privacy issues involved in genetic testing. The final section of the chapter provides a brief note regarding genetic counseling laws.
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Part two of the introduction to chapter eleven considers the eleven categories of genetic conditions, including genetic mental retardation. The next paragraph details the eleven categories and their definitions in further detail. Chapter eleven briefly describes the characteristics associated with each category and how testing for each category can be achieved. It briefly mentions the important issues regarding diagnosis and treatments for each category.
The third chapter covers genetic testing for a range of mental disorders. The first category is “Mental Disorders Assigned Metrics,” which identifies three areas of difficulty. These include: conduct disorder, substance abuse/dependence, and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder. The next category is “Mental Disorders Reflected on Genetic Research.” This sub-category discusses important milestones in genetic development that affect individuals with mental disorders.
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Each category has pre-defined thresholds for the acceptable levels of functioning. In addition, the threshold for each disorder also corresponds to a specific percentile. After testing is complete, the disability status is determined. Individuals may not qualify for a listing as having a disability. If mental retardation is present, the percentage of individuals with a listing will increase.
Chapter eleven concludes with a discussion of coverage for mental retardation through Medicaid. In order to receive Medicaid coverage for your child, you must meet state specific guidelines. Specific requirements may vary from state to state.
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I find this chapter of the bible to be very helpful in getting familiar with the topic of mental retardation and its various terms. It is also helpful in introducing the concept of the categories of disability. Chapter eleven provides some great illustrations and examples. I highly recommend this chapter and the supplemental text that accompanied it. As the parent of a disabled child, I hope that the information included herein will prove to be beneficial in your daily dealings with your loved one. Please take time to review the information contained herein.
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