Magazine article The Nation's Health

New Report Calls for Improving Services for Kids with Disabilities

Magazine article The Nation's Health

New Report Calls for Improving Services for Kids with Disabilities

Article excerpt

WHILE A wide variety of services exist to support children with disabilities and their families, a new report finds gaps in access and quality remain.

In May, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released "Opportunities for Improving Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities," a review of programs across sectors such as health care, education, vocational rehabilitation and social services.

Researchers concluded that a focus on specific short- and long-term goals that prepare children with disabilities for adulthood as well as an emphasis on coordination of care across sectors is critical to supporting healthy growth and development among such children. The report also identified a number of factors that can limit access to quality care, such as inadequate workforce capacity and socioeconomic disparities.

"Service fragmentation places a heavy burden on families of children with disabilities who need access to and coordination of high-quality services," said Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, chair of the NASEM Committee on Improving Health Outcomes for Children with Disabilities and an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in a news release. "Even the most well-resourced and organized families indicate how daunting it is to navigate the various service sectors to ensure that their children get the care they need to thrive."

While the researchers reported that estimates of childhood disability can vary widely, the report noted that about 1. …

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