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Developmental Disabilities
Developmental Disabilities > Monitoring
Monitoring Developmental Disabilities

CDC monitoring provides reliable, population-based estimates of the number of school-aged children with developmental disabilities. Without this knowledge, advocacy groups, parents, providers, educators, policy makers, and researchers would not have the necessary tools to effect change.

Evaluate Policy: Information gathered through CDC monitoring can be used by policy makers to assess current public health programs, regulations and authorizations for individuals with developmental disabilities

Prioritize Resources: CDC monitoring results have been used to support increases in funding for state and local programs supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.

Provide Basis for Additional Research: CDC monitoring has established a case population to identify risk factors for developmental disabilities.

Why is it so important to monitor developmental disabilities?

In the Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (MADDSP) 2000 Surveillance Year, approximately 2% of 8-year-old children had at least one of the five developmental disabilities monitored.

Developmental disabilities affect approximately 17% of children younger than 18 years of age in the United States and have resulted in substantial financial and social costs for affected families and educational and health care systems.

The estimated lifetime cost for those born in 2000 with a developmental disability are expected to total (based on 2003 dollars):

  •  $51.2 billion for people with mental retardation,

  • $11.5 billion for people with cerebral palsy,

  • $2.1 billion for people with hearing loss, and

  • $2.5 billion for people with vision impairment. 

These costs are likely an underestimate of the true cost of developmental disabilities because these numbers are based only on the prevalence estimates for the developmental disabilities ascertained by MADDSP (one of CDC monitoring programs).

Further, children living with developmental disabilities will need not only financial assistance, but also special educational and medical services throughout their lives in order to achieve their optimal development. MADDSP also identifies a case population of school-aged children with developmental disabilities that serves as an essential component for epidemiologic studies (CADDRE) examining risk factors for developmental disabilities in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

CDC's Monitoring Activities

Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (MADDSP) 

Map of Georgia showing 5 counties in metro Atlanta

Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM)

ADDMnet, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network             

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Date: June 27, 2006
Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities


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Topic Contents
 arrow Developmental Disabilities
  arrow Autism Spectrum Disorders
  arrow Cerebral Palsy
arrow Hearing Loss
arrow Kernicterus/Jaundice
arrow Intellectual Disability
arrow Vision Impairment
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Thank you for visiting the CDC-NCBDDD Web site. Click here to contact the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

We are not able to answer personal medical questions. Please see your health care provider concerning appropriate care, treatment, or other medical advice.

Key Resources
Learn the Signs. Act Early.
Autism Information Center

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities


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