Report cover image

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Report on Services for Children with Disabilities

Open the Report here 

Opportunities for Improving Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities

Although the general public in the United States assumes that children generally are healthy and thriving, a substantial and growing number of children have been diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition. Many of these persistent or long-lasting conditions are mild and do not significantly affect the child’s ability to develop age-appropriate skills or complete the expected and preferred activities of daily life. However, many such conditions are associated with disabilities that interfere regularly with children’s usual activities, such as play or leisure activities, attending school, family or community activities, and routine activities of daily living. And some conditions interfere with developmental processes and the attainment of functional skills such that the person’s disability will be lifelong. To help meet the highly diverse needs of children with disabilities, many programs and services to enhance health and functioning have been developed across a variety of domains, including health care, education, social needs care, and employment. Regular access to and use of quality, evidence-based programs and services positively impact health and functioning outcomes for children with disabilities. With support from the Social Security Administration (SSA), a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined programs and services designed to enhance the health and functioning of school-aged children with disabilities. The resulting report, Opportunities for Improving Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities, describes the characteristics of effective programs and services; identifies their gaps and limitations; and aims to help inform opportunities for SSA and other federal, state, local, and private entities to

•  improve the provision of services and supports to children with disabilities and their families,

•  enhance the ability of programs and services to improve health and functioning outcomes for children with disabilities, and

•  improve data collection and sharing, inspire a culture of innovation, and inform decisions about future research efforts

con't