A Long-term, Epidemiological Survey of Outcome and Adjustment of Children with Developmental Disabilities
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The medical, educational, and psychosocial outcomes of 3224 subjects (age range, 7-33 years; mean age, 20.06 years; SD, 5.74) diagnosed and treated in the Institute for Child Development in Tel Aviv between the years 1975 and 1994 were assessed by a telephone interview. Results indicate that only 9% of the subjects are seriously disabled, and 8% are mentally retarded. Over the years, subjects were referred to the Child Development Center at an increasingly younger age, probably reflecting greater professional and parental awareness of the importance of early intervention. The nature of interventions changed, so that physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and psychological guidance were more often provided. While more children were referred to special education at kindergarten, the percentage of those graduating from regular schools has increased. Most completed 12 years of schooling and successfully acquired full or partial matriculation certificates. As adults, most function independently; fulfill civic obligations, such as their army service; are fully employed; and express satisfaction with their life. These results suggest that children with developmental disabilities who receive early intervention are likely to be functionally independent and to be satisfied with their lives, although they continue to need medical services and require some government support. Further studies are essential to examine the correlation of specific risk factors and early interventions with outcome.
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