Unprecedentedly high numbers of American children are being identified with special medical and educational needs, and during the past several decades the types of predominant childhood disabilities have shifted from physical disorders to mental health disorders, according to the latest edition of the “Future of Children.”
The publication is a product of the Brookings Institution in Washington and Princeton University in New Jersey.
It says that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is about three times more likely than asthma to contribute to reported childhood disability.
The shift toward mental health disorders is worrisome, the report says, because research shows that, on average, such disorders in childhood have larger effects than childhood physical health problems on adults’ health, years of schooling, participation in the labor force, marital status, and family income.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2012 edition of Education Week as Disabilities