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National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

The Arc, an advocacy group working for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is a fantastic resource for families of the disabled. Online Community users can participate in online discussions. 7.2 million people in the US are disabled, and The Arc has 800 local chapters dedicated to serving them.

Watching children grow and develop is one of life's great mysteries. But what do you do if you suspect your child is not developing as they should? Developmental screening is an important aspect of caring for your growing child. Not all developmental disabilities are obvious. Unfortunately, many primary health care providers do not feel equipped to give parents the information about childhood growth and development they crave. Your family health care provider or pediatrician should check your child regularly to see that he or she is achieving developmental milestones. The CDC is a great resource for information about developmental milestones and screening. If you have any concerns at all about your child's behavior, intellectual or emotional capacity, do not hesitate to talk to a health care provider and ask for a referral for further screening.

As children enter schools, the school system offers tremendous resources for families of children who are struggling with issues, whether they be psychological, developmental or medical. A local school board official informed me last week that an "epidemic of chronic depression in adolescence" is sweeping the country. Schools are rallying to meet this problem by coming up with alternative education programs, even for children who are excellent students, and whose main disability may be crippling depression.

The worst thing to do is keep your worries to yourself. If you are concerned about your child, talk to the people who specialize in kids problems: pediatricians, counselors, and social service workers.

Thank you Smithereen11 for use of the photo.
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