CDC Finds 1.2% of American Children Qualify as Intellectually Disabled

February 02, 2021

Nearly 40% of Children with Intellectual Disability also Have Autism

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new intellectual disability (ID) rate estimate for American children. By using the same data collection methodology as used by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network which determines autism prevalence, the CDC found that 1.2% of 8-year-olds had IQ scores of less than 70, which qualifies as intellectually disabled. Seventy-eight percent of these children were considered to have mild intellectual disability, while 12% were classified in the moderate category. Only 1% of children qualified as severely or profoundly intellectually impaired. The report also found that 39% of children with ID also held an autism diagnosis. Additionally, the report concluded that boys were twice as likely as girls to have ID. Much like an earlier SafeMinds Shares article which detailed the racial divide in current autism rates, the CDC researchers reported that Black children were twice as likely as Caucasian children to hold an ID diagnosis. Ultimately, the study’s authors found that ID prevalence varied among racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic status (SES) groups. The research team calls for enhanced identification and access to services for children at risk for ID who belong to minority groups and live in areas with lower SES. 

Original Article

Study Abstract

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