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Soc Sci Med. 2013 Nov;97:307-15. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.049. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Screening for developmental disabilities in developing countries.

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Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, USA. Electronic address:


Despite waxing international interest in child disability, little information exists about the situation of children with disabilities in developing countries. Using a culture-free screen for child disability from the 2005-2007 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, this study reports percentages of children in 16 developing countries who screened positive for cognitive, language, sensory, and motor disabilities, covariation among disabilities, deviation contrasts that compare each country to the overall effect of country (including effects of age and gender and their interactions), and associations of disabilities with the Human Development Index. Developmental disabilities vary by child age and country, and younger children in developing countries with lower standards of living are more likely to screen positive for disabilities. The discussion of these findings revolves around research and policy implications.


Child development; Developing countries; Developmental disabilities; Human development index; Policy making; Risk factors

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