Disabilities in kids rise; not physical problems

CHICAGO (AP) — A 10-year analysis finds U.S. children's mental and developmental problems on the rise, more so in those from wealthier families.

Researchers say disadvantaged kids still bear a disproportionate burden and that the increases may partly reflect more awareness and recognition that conditions, including autism, require a specific diagnosis to receive special services.

Overall, disabilities of any kind affected 8 percent of children by 2010-2011, compared to close to 7 percent a decade earlier. For children living in poverty, the rate was 10 percent, versus about 6 percent of kids from wealthy families.

The overall trend reflects a 16 percent increase, while disabilities in kids from wealthy families climbed more than 28 percent.

The study finds physical disabilities declined. Declines in asthma-related problems and kids' injuries accounted for much of the overall 12 percent drop in physical disabilities.

Results were published online Monday in Pediatrics.