Disabilities On The Rise

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 8:21am

Researchers note Autism, ADHD and other developmental disabilities increased over past decade.

It appears the number of diagnoses of developmental disabilities like autism has risen over the past decade.

If you live on a street where at least six children live and play, new statistics suggest one of them may have a learning problem or other developmental delay.

Researchers from the Centers For Disease Control asked a nationwide sample of parents if a doctor had ever diagnosed their child with any kind of developmental disability, like autism, ADHD or even stuttering.

They estimated 1.8 million kids had received such a diagnosis.

That number has been rising for more than a decade.

"The prevalence of parent-reported developmental disability increased 17% between 1997 and 2008," notes the CDC's Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsop.

Boys and non-Hispanic whites were most likely to have had a delay.

Researchers did not look at the reasons why, but based a theory on the fact that one ethnic group had disproportionately low numbers of diagnoses.

"We speculate that Hispanic children have the lowest prevalence probably due to the lack of awareness of the developmental disabilities," explains. Dr. Yeargin-Allsop.

More research needs to be done before that theory can be proven.

It remains unclear whether more children are really affected by these problems, or clinicians are just getting better at detecting it.

Researchers say it starts with awareness of your own child by recognizing when he or she reaches the typical developmental milestones and getting help when necessary.

Out of all of the developmental disabilities researchers asked about, hearing loss was the only problem to decline over that 10-year period.

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