Identification of developmental and behavioral disorders in children is essential so that appropriate services can be provided early in childhood. Many CSHCN experience developmental and behavioral disorders, so early and frequent assessment of developmental status is especially important for these children in order to maximize long-term adult health and functioning.
The 2007 NSCH assesses risk for developmental and behavioral disorders among children age 4 months-5 years, using the research version of the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS), a standardized developmental and behavioral screening instrument. The PEDS reports risk for developmental and behavioral disorders using general and specific parent concerns about areas of child development and behavior. Based on parent responses, a child can be assigned to no, low, or moderate/high risk for developmental or behavioral disorder.1
Overall, 26.4 percent of U.S. children are considered to be at moderate/high risk for developmental or behavioral disorders. CSHCN are much more likely to be at moderate/high risk than are non-CSHCN (45.4 percent versus 23.7 percent), even after statistical adjustment for other differences between CSHCN and non-CSHCN.
Among CSHCN, those children with more complex service needs are the most likely to be at risk for developmental and behavioral disorders (59.3 percent). Although some developmental and behavioral disorders (such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorders) are much more common in boys than girls, the NSCH shows no significant differences in risk for developmental disorders by sex.
Insurance status is associated with risk for developmental or behavioral disorders. Among CSHCN, those children who are privately insured have the lowest risk (38.1 percent). Additionally, CSHCN in different racial, ethnic, and language groups have different levels of risk for developmental or behavioral disorders, with Spanish-speaking Hispanic CSHCN in the most likely to be at risk for developmental or behavioral disorders (85.7 percent), and Other/Multiracial CSHCN the least likely (35.1 percent).
1 Glascoe FP. Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status. Nashville, Tenn: Ellsworth & Vandermeer Press LLC; 2006. http://www.pedstest.com