DHDD Newsletter – August 2022

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

A Note from the Acting DHDD Director

Blythe Ryerson

Dear DHDD Partners,

As many of you know, CDC released streamlined COVID-19 guidance earlier this month, with a focus on knowing your risk and protecting yourself and others. We are in a stronger place today with tools such as vaccination, boosters, and treatments, and we need to continue to protect people at higher risk of severe illness. DHDD’s website provides content for people with disabilities, and we have included several helpful resources in this newsletter. Together, we can help ensure everyone – especially those at higher risk – has the information and tools they need to take action to lower their risk and protect others around them.

This month also brings a busy time for many families with the start of the back-to-school season. In addition to buying school supplies, check out these reminders to help ensure your child is ready for school. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to make sure your child is up to date on all vaccinations, including COVID-19 vaccines.

Last but certainly not least, I wanted to let you know that I will be participating in the CDC Polio Response over the coming month. During this time, Carlinda Nelson, DHDD Deputy Director, will be taking on the role of Acting DHDD Director. It’s been a real pleasure to partner with you in leading public health efforts for people with disabilities. As always, I thank you for your continued work in helping people with disabilities thrive and live to their full potentials.


New Resources

CDC resources to help promote COVID-19 vaccines for children

Get ready for school and get a COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are available and recommended for children 6 months and older. As children begin attending or are settling in to school or childcare, COVID-19 vaccination is a critical layer of protection against severe illness.

With your help, we can communicate the importance of vaccinating children and teens against COVID-19 to parents and caregivers, community partners, and healthcare professionals.

CDC has developed new materials to support communication about COVID-19 vaccines as the new school year begins, including social media posts, flyers, and newsletter and website content.

Visit Resources to Promote the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children & Teens to explore new resources available.

NEW: COVID-19 Materials for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Someone wearing a mask pointing at their vaccine band aid

DHDD’s suite of COVID-19 materials for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers include new materials on getting a booster shot. The free materials include a video, poster, social story, and interactive activity in English and Spanish. Thank you for your support in helping us spread the word about these new resources!

New report reveals financial hardship among people with disabilities

ALICE in Focus

ALICE in Focus: People with Disabilities report reveals that while 17.8% of people with disabilities in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2019, another 33.5% lived in households that are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE families earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the costs to meet their basic needs. These individuals also lack access to critical support as they live paycheck to paycheck.

However, most people with disabilities living in financial hardship did not access Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (83%) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (64%).

The brief is the second in a new research series, ALICE in Focus, developed by United For ALICE to improve life for households in financial hardship. Visit the DHDD Disability and Health Promotion page for a link to the report and access the ALICE in Focus: People With Disabilities interactive online dashboards as well as the national and state-level research briefs.

Announcing MyHealth: An Online Resource for Inclusive Health

A person using a laptop

DHDD partner Special Olympics is excited to announce the release of MyHealth,

an online hub for health education resources geared towards Special Olympics athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities: www.specialolympics.org/MyHealth.

MyHealth offers a fun online learning environment through visually engaging materials that allow users to learn more about their health at their own pace. For example, learn how to identify the signs of stress, dehydration, common dental problems, and much more.

The goal of MyHealth is to equip athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities with the educational resources to not only live healthy, longer lives, but also to become actively involved in their own health.

More resources will be continuously added to this online space, which was developed with funding from CDC.

Updated Hearing Loss Resource for Families

DHDD’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program has an updated version of A Parent’s Guide to Genetics & Hearing Loss available for download here. The guide is not only useful for parents, but also for genetics counselors and other healthcare professionals who work with and educate families. The material covers

  • types of hearing loss,
  • genetic testing, and
  • some of the available hearing loss interventions.

An updated Spanish version will be available in the future.

Continuing Education Opportunity: Disability and Health Promotion

CDC’s Disability and Health State Programs have adapted two online trainings offering continuing education credit for healthcare providers:

  1. Responsive Practice: Providing Health Care and Screenings to Individuals with Disabilities.
  2. Responsive Practice: Accessible and Adaptive Communication.

The trainings, which were previously developed by the New Hampshire Disability and Health Program, focus on Responsive Practice strategies and approaches to identify, address, and help remove barriers to care for people with disabilities. To learn more or to take the trainings, please visit the Responsive Practice training platform.

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