DHDD Newsletter – November 2021

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

A Note from the Acting DHDD Director:

Dear DHDD Partners,

I hope you are all doing well. Fall has certainly arrived to Georgia, ushering in cooler weather and changing colors. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to present during two meetings. The first was for NIH ABILITIES, a grassroots employee resource group dedicated to fostering a welcoming, supportive, and respectful workplace that promotes success for all NIH staff, regardless of ability or disability. I presented on the ways in which public health emergencies can exacerbate existing health disparities for people with disabilities and how we can prevent or diminish these disparities. The second presentation was during a webinar hosted by the ADA National Network. I had the opportunity to discuss the findings of my recent MMWR article “Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Status, Intent, and Perceived Access for Noninstitutionalized Adults, by Disability Status — National Immunization Survey Adult COVID Module, United States, May 30–June 26, 2021”. Both meetings offered an opportunity to share ongoing work to promote health equity for people with disabilities, and I was very thankful for these opportunities!

I am looking forward to stepping away from the office for a few days this Thanksgiving and spending time with family. I hope you can also find time to relax and recharge. This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for you, our partners, who work side-by-side with us to accomplish all that we do. Thank you for your dedication to people with disabilities and their caregivers. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

I wish you all the best this Thanksgiving.


In the Spotlight

Frequency of Early Intervention Sessions and Vocabulary Skills in Children with Hearing Loss

A woman wearing a see through protective mask, teaching a child

A new CDC-funded study found that children with hearing loss had significant improvements in vocabulary with more frequent early intervention sessions. This study highlights the importance of early intervention for improved developmental outcomes. Health care professionals can counsel parents on the value of participation in early intervention.

Federal Registry Notice: Now Accepting Comments and Nominations in Support of the Development of the Physical Activity Guidelines Midcourse Report on Older Adults

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides evidence-based advice on how physical activity can help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun planning for the Physical Activity Guidelines Midcourse Report focused on strategies to increase physical activity among older adults! HHS is seeking public input through written comments and nominations of qualified candidates to support the development of the report.

Written Comments: HHS is seeking written comments on how this report can best support decision makers, health professionals, educators, and others working to promote or implement physical activity among older adults. Written comments will be accepted until 11:59PM E.T. on December 8, 2021.

Nominations: HHS is seeking nominations to serve on a subcommittee of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, which will be convened to conduct a literature review and summarize findings to support the development of the report. Nominations will be accepted until 11:59PM E.T. on December 8, 2021.

Additional information, including eligibility criteria and instructions to submit a nomination, is available in the Federal Register.

New Resources

Milestone Checklists Now Available!

A child playing outside

Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). Caregivers can click on the age of their child to complete a milestone checklist online. Both the English and Spanish online (fillable) Milestone Checklists are now available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/digital-online-checklist.html

Please share with your networks!

New Video Promotes Importance of Emotional Resilience and Well-being

emotional well-being video thumbnail image. watch the video on YouTube

To help youth cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), with support from the CDC, developed a series of tools for children, teens, and parents that teach healthy ways to deal with stressful situations.

Watch the video and please share with your networks.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children 5 through 11 Years Old

Illustration of a child at the doctor

CDC now recommends that children between the ages of 5 and 11 years receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. The federal government is committed to ensuring that children ages 5 through 11 years old have access to COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists have conducted clinical trials with about 3,000 children, and the FDA has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has met the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5 through 11 years old. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be monitored. CDC shares up-to-date information and resources on how to help get children ages 5 through 11 years old vaccinated.

Please check the CDC pages for updates and share with your network.

Using Data to Improve Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH): The Opening Playbook

mental health playbook cover thumbnail

To assess and improve child and adolescent mental health (CAMH), CDC collaborated with the Public Health Informatics Institute to create a playbook as a resource for state, territorial, local, and tribal health departments. The playbook highlights the rationale for public health engagement in CAMH, suggests ways that health departments can form partnerships to assess and improve CAMH, and proposes three available indicators (school attendance, school disciplinary actions and school readiness) that can be used to begin assessing CAMH at the population-level. The playbook also includes information and resources on legal considerations, terminologies, and data standards related to the collection and use of CAMH data.

Browse the playbook.


New Review on Interventions that Promote Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

A happy healthy family

The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy published a new review of psychosocial interventions that promote infant and early childhood mental health through couple- and family-based approaches. Four intervention approaches were identified in this review as Probably Efficacious: Behavioral Interventions to Support Parents of Toddlers, Interventions to Support Adolescent Mothers, Tiered Interventions to Provide Support Based on Assessed Risk, and Home Visiting Interventions to Provide Individualized Support to Parents. This information can be used to ensure that families who need support receive it through effective programs.

Learn more about this review

Time Trends in Emergency Department Use Among Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A man with a disability and a friend on the beach

A new CDC-funded study looked at trends in emergency department (ED) use among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are enrolled in Medicaid to learn more about the effects of state-level Medicaid policy changes. Findings showed that Medicaid expansion was effective in reducing or limiting increases in ED visits among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Please feel free to share this communication broadly within your networks. If you are not currently a subscriber, click the button below to subscribe.


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