Study finds struggling families at increased risk for having children with developmental, mental disabilities
According to the survey, families with lower incomes -- who cannot find suitable child care or a regular physician for their children, with parental mental health that is poor to fair -- are more likely to have a child with developmental, mental or behavioral problems.
These findings are in keeping with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that communities should use any available resources to enhance available health care and support of disadvantaged families.
“These data support the Institute of Medicine recommendation that resources directed toward improving health care and supporting families and communities are needed to prevent mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, and promote healthy development among all young children,” the study states. “Such investments would require substantial collaboration across public health, pediatric and other agencies responsible for providing services to children, but could yield widespread benefits for early childhood and lifelong health.”
The study was compiled from information gathered through phone surveys. It is a project of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those surveyed were parents of children aged two to eight; questions centered around family dynamics and communities.
“These findings add to the growing evidence that developmental issues, including autism, are concentrated among our most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities,” Andy Shih, Autism Speaks' senior vice president for scientific affairs, said. “We have an unparalleled opportunity to improve our children’s overall health and quality of life by understanding and addressing the factors -- including social influences on health -- that have the greatest impact on early development.”
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