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Developmental disabilities are on the rise
Photo courtesy: Brewability Lab Facebook

By Joseph Rios

Developmental disabilities are slowly increasing among American children this year, according to a report that was released at the end of 2017 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, written by Benjamin Zablotsky, Ph.D., Lindsey I. Black, M.P.H., and Stephen J. Blumberg, Ph.D., of the National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Interview Statistics, defines developmental disabilities as a “set of heterogeneous disorders characterized by difficulties in one or more domains, including, but not limited to, learning, behavior, and self-care.” It found that between 2014 and 2016, developmental disabilities among children ages 3 to 17 increased from 5.76 percent to 6.99 percent.

“This increase was largely the result of an increase in the prevalence of children diagnosed with a developmental delay other than autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability. There was not a significant change in the prevalence of diagnosed autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability over the same time period,” The report says.

The report was put together by data collected by the National Health Interview Survey in which a government poll solicited information about health matters from people across the United States. One of the questions parents were asked was if their child had an intellectual disability, autism, or any other type of developmental disability.

One of the most intriguing pieces from the report was that developmental disability diagnosis was lowest among Hispanic children compared to other race and ethnicity groups. It also found that boys have higher rates of developmental disabilities than girls.

While developmental disabilities are rising among children, services to help those with disabilities are scarce in Colorado. Reportedly, in 2017 over 2,000 adults with disabilities are on a waitlist to get services, and they sometimes have to wait years to get those services.

Employment of the disabled is another matter of concern. Services may be hard to come by, but one employer in Denver has an innovative way of hiring people with disabilities. Brewability Lab, was started by Tiffany Fixter. She originally ran a day program for adults with developmental disabilities before opening Brewability Lab. The brewery is unique with its employees who serve beer, give tours and perform other tasks to keep the brewery operating. Guests order beers by color rather than name to help employees who may be autistic. Brewability Lab is located at 12445 E. 39th Ave. #314, and it is open 3-9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

“I’ve worked with little kids (with disabilities), now adults (with disabilities)… There definitely needs to be some changes made in the adult world. I’m looking forward to making that happen,” Fixter said.





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