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Kids with disabilities increasing in the US


A new government report shows that the number of children in the US with developmental disabilities has been growing over the past decade. Now, nearly one in six children are listed as having a developmental disability, according to data collected in 2006 and 2008. The study looked at a variety of disabilities ranging from ADHD to cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss, seizures, and speech difficulties like stuttering and stammering as well as other delays in development.

From 1997 to 2008 the number of kids with development delays increased from less than 13% to more than 15%. That’s a jump of 1.8 million kids.

“We don’t know for sure why the increase happened,” said Sheree Boulet, of the Centers for disease control and Prevention. It may simply be that there is a bigger emphasis on early treatment and that parents and pediatricians are more aggressively identifying and treating these issues.

There may also be other factors like maternal age and more preterm babies. Additionally, as services are not covered by insurance or insurance is difficult to get, parents request services from their schools and need a diagnosis to qualify.

Boys outnumber girls 2:1. Children in low income families are also disproportionately represented. It’s not known why.

“We need to plan this proportion of children needing services,” said Maureen Durkin an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In an era of cutbacks, it’s hard to know how that’s going to happen.

Source: Pediatrics Journal, Reuters


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