Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) found that about 1 in 6 children aged 3–17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability, and that this percentage increased from 16.2% in 2009–2011 to 17.8% in 2015–2017.
Investigators examined data collected from 2009 to 2017 by the National Health Interview Survey, which surveyed parents of more than 88,000 children. Specifically, data showed an increase in the prevalence of autism, intellectual disability, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The reasons for these increases were not investigated in this study, but previous research has shown that improved awareness, screening, and diagnosis may contribute to the increased incidence.
These findings can be used to improve understanding of the trends associated with diagnosing developmental disabilities and to help plan for medical, educational, and social services to support children and their families.