Developmental Disabilities on the Rise: Straight from the CDC

There is an "increasing need for health, education and social services, and more specialized health services for people with Developmental Disabilities," reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With a significant increase in the prevalence of Developmental Disabilities (DDs), specific findings are alarming.
The CDC classifies Developmental Disabilities (DDs) as a "diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments." DDs present anywhere between birth and 22 years of age and generally last the duration of the person's life. Life activities that are affected include: language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living.
According to the CDC, Developmental Disabilities are on the rise, 17.1 percent in the past 12 years. This translates to 1.8 more children with DDs than the decade prior. Two areas of significant concern are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ADHD increased 33 percent and Autism (ASD) increased a frightening 289.5 percent. This data was taken from a 12-year CDC study, "Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in U.S. Children."
Sifting through the report's data can be daunting. In short, the study revealed that DDs are common. Approximately 1 in 6 children in the U.S. have a DD. Examples of common DDs include, but are not limited to: ADHD, ASD, Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability, learning disability, and vision impairment.
The CDC shares that acting early is key to intervention and getting appropriate supports in place for children and their families. This means, parents should carefully follow their child's development, looking at how he or she learns, talks, plays, and so forth. Children should also attend regular visits to the doctor to ensure milestones are achieved and to learn what to expect next in development. To learn more about acting early, visit
A closer look at how a DD is analyzed for impact and occurrence, based on CDC findings, looking at a snapshot of Autism data: an estimated one in 88 children have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These children come from all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Boys are five time more likely than girls to have ASD. Medical costs for children with ASD are six times higher than medical costs for children without ASD. Intensive behavioral interventions, in addition to medical costs, can cost between $40,000 and $60,000 per year per child with ASD.
The CDC offers a huge listing of resources for professionals and parents alike, which includes links to valuable online sites specific to DDs, which saves time and provides a go-to place for information: Parents can also contact The Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division at 573-522-8024 or visit them online at Another regional resource is The Missouri Department of Mental Health's Division of Developmental Disability at 573-751-4054 or online at Both The Missouri Department of Social Services and The Missouri Department of Mental Health can connect families with local resources and valuable information in addition to providing guidance in navigating services available to children with Developmental Disabilities.