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1 million more children have disabilities now than 10 years ago

Here in New York, most of us are pretty aware of mental health conditions. Whether or not we know all of the details, we at least know that mental health conditions exist and affect many people in our community. Thankfully, researchers have made sure that medical professionals and the rest of us keep learning about these conditions. As knowledge and awareness have increased, doctors have been able to recognize the conditions and diagnose them, ensuring that patients know how to manage them appropriately.

As many New York families know, mental conditions are often diagnosed at a young age. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some suspect this has been a factor in the dramatic increase in the number of children who are considered disabled over the past decade. Today, approximately six million children have been diagnosed with some type of disability. Ten years ago, only five million children were considered disabled. Interestingly, researchers also found that almost twice as many children younger than 6 have neurodevelopmental disabilities today than did 10 years ago.

The information in the study was determined using results from the National Health Interview Survey. In the survey, parents of children as old as 17 were asked several questions, including if their children had any sort of disability. The limitations parents reported were then labeled as mental health or neurodevelopmental conditions, physical disabilities, or neither. The results from the 2009-2010 survey were compared to those of the 2001-2002 survey.

Aside from simply giving us new information, this research may also indicate that more New York parents and even young adults are in need of financial assistance. Some people's disabilities are so debilitating that they cannot work, and some parents may need assistance for their child's treatment. Fortunately, Social Security offers options for both situations. 

Source: Disability Scoop, "In Decade's Time, Childhood Disabilitiesw Rise 16 Percent," Shaun Heasley, May 6, 2013

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