Helping Children Live to the Fullest by Understanding Developmental Disabilities

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CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is committed to helping children with developmental disabilities and their families get the support they need to thrive.

Developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and vision loss create delays and/or impairments in daily activities that can impact a child’s health and well-being. Approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States have developmental disabilities or other developmental delays. To best support children and their families, CDC is committed to

  • Monitoring common developmental disabilities;
  • Identifying factors that can put children at risk for developmental disabilities and exploring possible causes;
  • Improving identification of developmental disabilities and delays; and
  • Providing technical assistance to partners on how to implement programs to improve the care and quality of life for children with developmental disabilities and their caregivers.

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Early hearing screening and intervention for children with hearing loss saves approximately $200 million in additional education costs each year

Data for Action

  • CDC launched the Autism Data Visualization Tool, an interactive, web-based platform that gives users the opportunity to explore data on the prevalence of ASD among children. This platform provides clear, transparent information on ASD prevalence estimates nationally and by state or site (when data are available) for years 2000 to 2017.
  • The goal of the Autism Data Visualization Tool is to provide the most current ASD prevalence estimates available from CDC and other surveillance sources in order to show the most comprehensive picture of ASD among children in the United States.
  • The data presented through the platform highlight changes over time in reported ASD prevalence estimates and in the characteristics of children identified with ASD.
  • The information provided can help state epidemiologists, researchers, public health professionals, and everyone interested in children with ASD better understand the different methods used for tracking ASD prevalence. It also provides an easy way to access national as well as state- and community-specific information that may be of interest to public health researchers, state health officials, and members of the public.
  • The data come from four different sources: CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, Special Education, the National Survey of Children’s Health, and Medicaid.
Looking to the Future

Children with developmental disabilities, and their families, often face personal, social, and financial challenges. CDC and its partners work across systems to improve early identification of children with developmental delays, connect these children and their families to medical, developmental, and behavioral intervention services, and provide tools and resources to help families facing these challenges. NCBDDD’s mission also includes understanding optimal development at each stage of life, from promoting school readiness to the health of teens with ASD, as well as helping families and children get the support they need.

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