According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or developmental delays. March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and we have compiled a few facts and resources for parents.
What are developmental disabilities?
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas¹. They come in many shapes and sizes, and are not always visible. These conditions can include, but are not limited to, vision impairment, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, learning disability and ADHD.
There are many factors that can cause a developmental disability or delay, and most begin before the baby is born. It can be linked to genetics, complications during pregnancy (such as infections) and/or during birth, exposure to high levels of toxins, and parental health and behavior (such as drinking, smoking and drug use.)
Why is Early Intervention important?
Neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, behavior and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life. Because of that, early intervention is more effective when provided then. It can also reduce the incidence of future problems in their learning, behavior and health status.² As a result, children who receive services early on most likely won’t need special education when they start school.
What can you do to help your child?
If your child was born with a developmental disability, seek local early intervention services right away. For Utah and Arizona, check out the Utah Department of Health and Arizona Department of Economic Security for services in your area.
The best way to catch developmental delays is through screenings. Only 31% of children ages 9 months to 35 months received a developmental screening in the U.S. in 2016-2017.³ To make sure your child is reaching their developmental milestones, follow the CDC’s Milestone Checklist or download their app. Contact your local providers for screening information if you have any concerns.
Root for Kids serves Washington County, Utah and the Arizona strip. Contact us for free developmental screenings.
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