CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

Americans with Disabilities

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Disability Status of Children


Questions about the disability status of children were asked of parents or guardians of children less than 22 years of age. Questions about "any limitations at all in the usual kind of activities done by most children their age" and "received therapy or diagnostic services designed to meet their developmental needs" were asked about children O to 6 years of age. A question about "limitations in their ability to do regular school work" was asked about children 6 to 21 years of age, and a question about "a long lasting condition that limits their ability to walk, run, or use stairs" was asked about children 3 to 14 years of age.

The disability rate among children O to 2 years old was 2.2 percent (see table 34). The proportion with a limitation in usual kind of activity was 1.3 percent, and 1.6 percent had received therapy or services for developmental needs (the latter figure is not statistically different from either of the two preceding figures). The proportion identified as having a severe disability (a limitation caused by autism, cerebral palsy, or mental retardation) was 0.4 percent.

The disability rate among children 3 to 5 years was 5.2 percent. The proportion with a limitation in usual kind of activity was 2.6 percent and 4.3 percent had received therapy or services for developmental needs (the latter figure is not statistically different from the overall figure of 5.2 percent). The proportion identified as "limited in their ability to walk, run, or use stairs" was 1.3 percent. The proportion with a severe disability was 0.7 percent, not statistically different from the rate for children O to 2 years old.

Children 6 to 14 years of age had a disability rate of 6.3 percent. The proportion who were limited in their ability to do regular school work was 5.4 percent, and 1.6 percent were limited in their ability to walk, run, or use stairs. (This latter figure is not statistically different from the comparable figure for children 3 to 5 years old.) The proportion with a severe disability was 1.3 percent (the latter figure is not statistically different from the preceding figure).

The disability status of persons 15 to 21 years of age was measured by direct questions about functional limitation, ADL limitations, IADL limitations, and the use of special aids. If the person lived with a parent or guardian, disability status was also measured by a question asked of the parent or guardian concerning the child's ability to do regular school work. The overall disability rate among persons 15 to 17 years of age (as determined both by the direct questions and the questions asked of parents) was 9.3 percent. The proportion identified as having a limitation in their ability to do regular school work was 4.4 percent.

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