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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Developmental Disabilities Information
Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have a one or more developmental disabilities.1 Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.2
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of a larger group of public and private organizations working to better understand developmental disabilities. CDC is undertaking efforts to:
Study how common developmental disabilities are, who is more likely to have them, and whether their occurrence is changing over time.
Identify factors that can put children at risk for developmental disabilities and explore possible causes. Improve identification of developmental delays so children and families can get the services and support they need as early as possible. By tracking the number of children with developmental disabilities over time, we at CDC can find out whether the number is rising, dropping, or staying the same. We also can compare the number of children with developmental disabilities in different parts of the country and look at the different traits or features of children with developmental disabilities, including their demographic, socioeconomic, and birth and maternal characteristics.
This information can help us look for risk factors and possible causes for developmental disabilities and can better inform prevention programs and policy development. These data also can help communities to plan for services and respond to the needs of families.