Children with severe developmental disabilities and behavioral disorders have increased special healthcare needs.

Abstract

We studied whether children with severe developmental disabilities (SDDs) who have a comorbid behavioral disorder also have higher rates of special healthcare needs (SHCNs). We used a matched-comparison control group design to establish whether SHCNs were higher in children with SDDs with behavioral disorders versus children with SDDs without behavioral disorders. Thirty-six children were matched for age (mean 12 y 6 mo; range 5 y 2 mo-18 y 8 mo), sex (24 males, 12 females), ethnicity (22 non-white), mental retardation level (22 moderate, eight severe, six profound), and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition axis I diagnosis (18 autism spectrum disorder, 10 specified syndrome, eight mental retardation not otherwise specified). Measures included the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, behavioral observation, health status examination, and Childhood Health Questionnaire (CHQ). Children with SDDs with behavioral disorders had significantly higher levels of SHCN, as measured by the CHQ and health status examination. Children with SDDs with behavioral disorders had a twofold higher incidence of SHCNs than children with SDDs without behavioral disorders. No difference was observed in the number or types of prescription medication that children received. The findings suggest that SHCNs contribute to the occurrence and/or intensity of behavioral disorders in children with SDD and may require interdisciplinary care coordination.

Cite this paper

@article{Kennedy2007ChildrenWS, title={Children with severe developmental disabilities and behavioral disorders have increased special healthcare needs.}, author={Craig H. Kennedy and A Pablo Ju{\'a}rez and Angela F Becker and Kathryn Greenslade and Mark T. Harvey and Clare D. Sullivan and Brenna Tally}, journal={Developmental medicine and child neurology}, year={2007}, volume={49 12}, pages={926-30} }