WASHINGTON, DC More children today have a disability than a decade ago, and the greatest increase is among kids in higher-income families, according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
The study also found that disabilities related to physical health conditions have decreased, while disabilities due to neurodevelopmental and mental health problems have increased greatly.
"Nearly 6 million kids had a disability in 2009-2010 almost 1 million more than in 2001-2002," said lead author Amy J. Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, chief, Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Houtrow said previous studies have indicated that the prevalence of childhood disability is increasing. She and her colleagues wanted to look more closely at the conditions and socio-demographic factors associated with disabilities.
The researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001-2002 and survey data from 2009-2010. A total of 102,468 parents of children ages 0-17 years participated in the surveys.
Parents were asked whether their child had any limitations in play or activity, received special education services, needed help with personal care, had difficulty walking without equipment, had difficulty with memory or had any other limitation.
If they answered yes to any of those questions, they were asked whether their child's limitations were due to a vision or hearing problem; asthma or breathing problem; joint, bone or muscle problem; intellectual deficit or mental retardation; emotional or behavior problems; epilepsy; learning disability; speech problems; attention
|Contact: Debbie Jacobson|
American Academy of Pediatrics