Developmental disabilities are common
In Minnesota, one in five families have at least one child with a special health care need. These include developmental disabilities such as attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and other developmental disabilities - a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments.
Nationally, one in six children has a developmental disability. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, movement, learning, self-help, and living by themselves. Developmental disabilities usually last throughout a person's lifetime.
The cause of most developmental disabilities is unknown
Developmental disabilities may result from an interaction between genetic, environmental, and social factors. Many developmental disabilities are inherited and cannot be prevented. But some can be prevented or lessened through the following steps:
- Begin pregnancy in the best possible health
- Receive early and continuous prenatal care
- Prevent harmful exposures and injuries
- Detect and treat conditions early
See more developmental disabilities prevention tips, and take additional steps to having a healthy pregnancy.
What is being done about developmental disabilities?
- MDH's Children and Youth with Special Health Needs Program provides public health resources and services to the families of children with special needs. Families contacting this program receive advice on available public health services and referrals to agencies.
- The Minnesota Children and Youth with Special Health Needs Strategic Plan (PDF: 4.85MB/41 pages) supports the development and coordination of state and local systems for children and youth with special health needs.
- Disability Minnesota offers resources on state agencies that work on a range of disabilities, and information about laws, statues, and regulations that pertain to disabilities.
- The CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities works to identify causes of developmental disabilities, find opportunities to prevent them, and improve the health of those living with developmental disabilities.