DHDD Newsletter – February 2021

Newsletter-Human Development and Disability: Improving Health, Helping Children

A Note from the DHDD Director:

Dear DHDD colleagues –

I hope you are all well. As mentioned in January’s newsletter, Dr. Georgina Peacock is deployed to the Georgia Department of Public Health to assist with the COVID-19 response, and I will be serving in an acting capacity while she is deployed. Thank you in advance for your support!

This month, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Karen Remley, NCBDDD’s Director, to discuss DHDD’s science, research, programs, and contributions to the COVID-19 response. Dr. Remley has shared the great work of DHDD and our partners with CDC’s new Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, as she gets situated in her new role. Dr. Remley was very positive about Dr. Walensky’s interest and support of the work to address the needs of people with disabilities. Several DHDD staff members are deployed to the COVID-19 response to help ensure that people with disabilities are included in all aspects of the response. I am appreciative of their contributions and those of the staff who remain at DHDD to carry on our ongoing activities!

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of people with disabilities, their families, and loved ones.

Stay healthy!


In the Spotlight

CDC COVID-19 ASL Videos Now Available Online

You Tube Sign Language video playlist thumbnail

New and updated CDC COVID-19 American Sign Language (ASL) videos have posted to CDC’s #COVID-19 ASL playlist. Video topics include extra precautions for people with disabilities, planning safer outings and visits, and back to school planning for parents and caregivers.

Development of these materials was supported by a grant from the CDC Foundation, using funding provided by its donors. The materials were created in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Tech. More information about the project and additional accessible COVID-19 resources including “Easy to Read” materials and braille can be found on the microsite hosted by Georgia Tech.

Additional ASL videos will be posted to the CDC YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Please share with your networks!

New Resources

New MMWR/Medscape Continuing Education Activity

Adults with disabilities report frequent mental distress almost 5 times as often as adults without disabilities.

A new MMWR/Medscape continuing education (CE) activity is now available for MMWR, “Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status, Disability Type, and Selected Characteristics — United States, 2018”.

Earn Free Continuing Education Credits through Medscape

This CE activity is LIVE and on the Medscape CE page. Medscape, LLC is pleased to provide online continuing education (CE) for selected journal articles.

Link to CE activity: https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/944644
Expiration Date: 2/8/2022

New Digital Resource to Promote Diabetes Self-Management

Diabetes video thumbnail

A new digital resource, developed by 10 states funded through the CDC Disability and Health Program’s Medicaid Data Analysis Project, is now available online. This video promotes effective diabetes self-management strategies among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who have Type II Diabetes and their caregivers.

The Medicaid Data Analysis Project is a collaborative effort to identify the most salient health issues among a cohort of adults with IDD who are enrolled in Medicaid. The project utilizes Medicaid administrative claims data to characterize people with IDD and identify leading causes and associated costs of hospitalization, ambulatory care, and emergency department visits. Analyses conducted by the 10 states identified high rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the selected Medicaid cohort.

We invite you to watch the video My Diabetes, but I’m Not Alone: An educational video with actors who have developmental disability and share broadly with your network!

Learn the Signs. Act Early. Resources on Head Start Website

A child playing with toys while care provider tracks milestones

CDC federal colleagues at the Administration for Children & Families’ Office of Head Start recently included information and links to Learn The Signs. Act Early. resources on a new page on the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center about supporting children and families during COVID-19. They also plan to add a link to our Milestone Tracker app soon.

Learn more about Learn the Signs. Act Early.


Evaluation of the Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities Project

A senior woman is strolling in a park using her walker.

A new study published in Disability and Health Journal evaluates the implementation of a national pilot project to facilitate disability inclusion in local healthy community initiatives, the Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities Project. Researchers found that partnerships between local public health and disability organizations focused on changing policies, systems, and environments are both feasible and a necessary step to effectively reduce health disparities among people with disabilities.

Read the scientific summary.

From Data to Action: CDC’s Public Health Surveillance of Women, Infants and Children (second edition)

Data to action document cover thumbnail.

DHDD scientists co-authored a chapter on newborn screening that focuses on Early Hering Detection and Intervention (EHDI), which is included in the recently released From Data to Action: CDC’s Public Health Surveillance of Women, Infants and Children (second edition).

Read From Data to Action: CDC’s Public Health Surveillance of Women, Infants and Children (second edition) (EHDI focused chapter can be found on pages 321-331).

Learn more about hearing loss in children.

Evaluation of Sex Differences in Preschool Children with and without ASD Enrolled in SEED

Overhead of Boy Playing With His Toys at Table

A study co-authored by DHDD scientists and published online in the Research in Developmental Disabilities Journal examined sex-based differences in a large sample of 2–5-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms enrolled in the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). Researchers concluded that preschool males and females who showed risk for ASD were more similar than different in the outcomes assessed in this study (e.g. behavioral functioning, developmental functioning, performance on an ASD screening test, and developmental conditions diagnosed before study enrollment).

It is important to recognize and treat both males and females with diverse ASD characteristics as early as possible. Parents and providers can track children’s development and act early on concerns through Learn the Signs. Act Early. Early intervention services can improve adaptive and overall cognitive functioning and reduce challenging behaviors.

Read the study.

Many Young Children with Autism Who Use Psychotropic Medication Do Not Receive Behavior Therapy: A Multisite Case-Control Study

Upset lonely african kid girl holding teddy bear looking awa…

A study by DHDD co-authors published online in the Journal of Pediatrics explored how many pre-school aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) used psychotropic medication (type of drug used to treat clinical psychiatric symptoms or mental disorders). The study also explored child and geographic factors associated with psychotropic medication use, and how many children who used psychotropic medication did or did not ever receive behavior therapy. Results indicated that more than one-half (59.7%) of preschool-aged children with ASD who used psychotropic medication did not ever receive behavior therapy. Pediatricians are an important resource for children and families and can help facilitate behavioral treatment for children with ASD and other disorders.

Read the study.

Health Service Utilization Patterns Among Medicaid-Insured Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Implications for Access Needs in Outpatient Community-Based Medical Services

A study published in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management explores the use of emergency services for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (e.g. urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and psychiatric conditions) among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are Medicaid insured. Findings underscore the importance of access to ambulatory care skilled in IDD-related needs to recognize and treat ambulatory care–sensitive conditions and to manage chronic medical and mental health conditions.

Read the scientific summary.

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DHDD’S mission is to lead inclusive programs to optimize the health and development of children and adults with, or at risk for, disabilities.

Newsletter Footer-National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disabilities