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Developmental Disabilities

Developmental Disabilities Indicators

No nation-wide system actively tracks all developmental disabilities. The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is currently using two developmental disabilities data sources.

Data for several developmental disabilities are available on the Tracking Network.

  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)
  • Developmental delay
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Hearing impairment or hearing loss
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Specific learning disability

Although causes of specific developmental disabilities are often not known, these disabilities were chosen because some scientific evidence suggests environmental exposures may play a role in developing these conditions. Read more about all the developmental disabilities available on the Tracking Network.

Estimated Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders

This indicator uses data collected by CDC's ADDM Network. It can be used to track ASDs over time. Not all locations are able to evaluate information from education records, so some variation in ASD prevalence across locations is likely due to this missing information.

Within a state, ADDM data may only include one or a few counties or cities and may not be representative of the entire state. Caution must be used when attempting to estimate prevalence of ASDs for the entire U.S. because the locations covered are not representative of the entire U.S. population.

Children Receiving Interventions or Services

This indicator uses data collected by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for the purpose of monitoring state compliance with the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). These data can be used to track the number of children receiving services for various developmental disabilities.

IDEA data cover each state and related areas of the U.S. and are reported annually. These data are collected for regulatory purposes, and are a good resource for describing special education service categories. Implementation of the regulation varies between states so they should be used cautiously to estimate developmental disabilities prevalence.

It is difficult to use IDEA data to compare number of children by type of disability, state, or time. These data are best used to track the number of children receiving special education and related services for developmental disabilities when there is an educational impact.

Read more about these Developmental Disabilities

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