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CBS News: CDC: "Nearly one in 10 kids" has developmental disabilities

July 13, 2023, CBS News: Nearly 1 in 10 kids diagnosed with a developmental disability, CDC reports

The share of American children who have ever been diagnosed with a developmental disability increased again in 2021, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and now more than 1 in 10 boys have had an intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder or another developmental delay.

Among kids ages 3 to 17 years old, 8.56% have ever been diagnosed with any developmental disability as of 2021, according to the latest results from the agency's ongoing National Health Interview Survey.

"We're interested in understanding the prevalence of these conditions in the population so that we can make sure we have adequate services available for families and children who need them," said Benjamin Zablotsky, a statistician for the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new report.

A previous report, examining trends from 2009 to 2017, found increases were driven largely by more diagnoses of ADHD, autism and intellectual disability.-…

The only category that increased significantly was parents reporting having been told their child had an "other developmental delay" — a grouping that can include a range of other issues, like cerebral palsy or struggles forming words. That group increased from 5.08% of kids in 2019 to 6.06% in 2021….

A sign of progress?

Rates of developmental disabilities in American children have been climbing for years, mirroring increases seen in other countries now diagnosing more children with delays.

"It's been a constant increase, it seems, with these national surveys, every time they measure it, it seems to go up," said Maureen Durkin, chair of University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Population Health Sciences. Durkin authored a commentary in 2019, after earlier NCHS estimates tracked an increase from 2009 to 2017, pointing to improvements in diagnosing children and helping them live longer.

"In that sense, it could be a sign of progress, and a good thing. But it still opens up an entire agenda of things we need to do to prevent disability and improve outcomes overall," said Durkin.

She cited increases in the life expectancy for children with conditions like Down syndrome, as well as improvements to care for newborns. Services and outreach for diagnoses and treatment have also ramped up in recent decades, combined with universal screening efforts by doctors and health authorities….


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