Posts Tagged ‘CDC’

Children with Congenital Heart Defects and Their Use of Special Educational Services

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

A guest post by Coleen Boyle, PhD, MSHyg
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Teacher and studentsSome new research gives us encouraging information showing that children living with birth defects are getting the services they need. Specifically, several of my colleagues and I found that children with congenital heart defects (CHDs) received special education services more often than children without birth defects.

This is important news, because earlier studies have shown us that children with some types of CHDs have a greater chance of having problems with brain development and function as compared to children without birth defects. Knowing that children with CHDs may benefit from—and are receiving—special education services is reassuring. Special education services are those specifically designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.

So what do these findings mean? They demonstrate the importance of developmental screening—short tests usually conducted by a child’s doctor to determine if their basic learning skills are where they should be—for all children with CHDs to ensure they receive the services they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children receive these screenings at 9, 18 and 24 or 30 months of age during well visits with the doctor. Screenings may include observing, talking with, or playing with the child to see how he or she plays, speaks, behaves, and moves.

CHDs are heart problems that occur before birth and are the most common type of birth defect in the United States. About 1% or nearly 40,000 births each year are affected by CHDs. Of these, about 1 in 4 is considered a critical CHD, in which surgery or other procedures are needed within the baby’s first year.

Some of the specific findings from the study show that
• Children with CHDs and no other birth defect were 50% more likely to receive special education services than those children without birth defects.
• This increased use of special education services occurred in children with critical CHDs and in children with noncritical CHD.

For this study, we looked at information about children born with a CHD from 1982 to 2004 in metropolitan Atlanta; we also examined a similar sample of newborns without a birth defect. After linking information about these children to special education services they later received (from 1992 to 2012), we determined that children with CHDs more often received those services than children without birth defects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our partners not only conduct research such as this to identify the scope of the issue and how it is being addressed, we also
• Fund programs and conduct research to help us determine where and when birth defects occur and whom they affect;
• Track CHDs among teens and adults to learn more about their health issues and needs; and
• Collaborate with partners such as the March of Dimes to provide information to families, experts, and organizations to address CHDs.

We at CDC and in particular the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) along with our partners, including March of Dimes, strive to help ensure individuals born with these conditions get the care they need throughout their lives.

To learn more read the Key Findings document and the research article abstract.

dr-coleen-boyleThe March of Dimes wishes to thank Dr. Coleen Boyle for this guest post. Dr. Boyle is the Director of NCBDDD and has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed and other scientific publications.

Join our Twitter Chat on smoking and women’s reproductive health

Monday, July 14th, 2014

chatAre you pregnant? Hoping to be pregnant? Do you smoke? Are you worried about the possible effects on your baby?

Join us on Wednesday, July 16th from 2-3pm ET, for a Twitter chat on smoking and women’s reproductive health.

We are joining the CDC, the Office of the Surgeon General and other guests to discuss the newest information on this topic. Learn how you can protect yourself and your  baby from the harmful effects of smoking. We will discuss the findings of the recent Surgeon General’s report on smoking, as well as the services and resources available in your community to help you or loved ones quit smoking.

We’d love for you to share your tips and experiences with us. Jump in the conversation at any time to ask questions or tell us your story.

Just follow #SGR50chat. We hope to see you then!

Gulf oil spill information for parents

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Last month we posted a link to a CDC web page for pregnant women living in the Gulf region who are concerned about contaminants.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.  Now the CDC has created a web page with information about the Gulf oil spill for parents – an important site to visit.

 If you live in the region or you’re going there on vacation, there may be plenty of questions you want answers to.  Will the air make my child sick? Is it safe for him to swim in the water or play on the beach? Is the oil itself harmful or toxic? Are oil dispersants harmful to children?  Aside from finding good information now, you can ask to receive email when updates are posted.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working together to continue monitoring the levels of oil and oil dispersants in the environment. If they begin to find levels that are likely to be harmful, they will tell the public. For up-to-date information on monitoring data along the Gulf Coast, please visit the EPA’s website.

Gulf oil spill and pregnant women

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Through all of the worsening news of  the spill and the photos of birds, turtles and even bugs soaked with oil, there has been a nagging worry about contaminents.  When I started to hear about hazmat suits and fishermen complaining of health concerns, my thoughts went to what about all the pregnant women living and breathing down on the gulf?

Now, the CDC has come out with an information page addressing many of the concerns for pregnant women.  It addresses the air quality, smell, burning oil, dispersants, safety of the drinking water as well as fish and seafood.  If you  are living in a gulf state or know someone who is, please read this and pass it along.

Growth charts

Friday, October 30th, 2009

88586892_thbPediatric growth charts are a standard part of any checkup.  They have been used by health care providers and parents to track the growth of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States since 1977. They show us how kids are growing compared with other kids of the same age and sex. They also show a pattern of height and weight gain over time, and whether they’re developing proportionately. Girls and boys are measured on different growth charts because they grow in different patterns and at different rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has growth charts available on their website. They are not meant to be used as the only diagnostic tool for evaluating a childs’ health. Instead, growth charts are intended to help form an overall impression. If you have any questions about your child’s growth  (or growth charts) speak to your health care provider.

Click here to view Birth to 36 months: Boys Length-for-age and Weight-for-age percentiles

Click here to view Birth to 36 months: Girls Length-for-age and Weight-for-age percentiles

Hib vaccine for babies: Don’t miss a dose

Friday, March 20th, 2009

babyIt’s important for babies to get three doses of the vaccine Hib. On March 18, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory reminding us about this.

Hib stands for Haemophilus influenzae Type B, a type of bacteria. Hib can cause pneumonia and meningitis (a serious infection of the brain and spinal cord). Meningitis can lead to brain damage and even death.

FYI: Hib is not what causes the disease we call the flu. It’s a different bug altogether.

The CDC has learned that five young children in Minnesota got Hib. One of them died. None of the children had received the recommended three doses of the vaccine. Three of the children had not received a single dose.

So check with your child’s health care provider today, and find out if your baby is up-to-date on his Hib vaccine.

The March of Dimes has an article on immunizations for your baby. CDC has more on Hib.

Vaccines before pregnancy

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

At a checkup before pregnancy, your provider can do a blood test to find out if you’re immune to certain illnesses such as rubella (German measles) and chickenpox. If you’re not, you can safely be vaccinated before pregnancy. After you’re vaccinated, you should wait for one month before trying to conceive. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend these vaccines during pregnancy.

A while back I wrote a post about my “before-baby” check up. I discovered that my immunity to chickenpox was borderline so I received a booster. I always assumed I was immune because I had the chicken pox as a kid. I’m so glad I got that shot! A few months later I was exposed to a friend’s daughter who had the illness and I was newly pregnant.

Testing for GBS

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Next week I’ll be in my 36th week and I start weekly prenatal appointments until the baby is born. The majority of my visits are pretty  routine and include your basic physical: blood pressure, weight, listening to the baby’s heart, and measuring my belly. This upcoming visit however my provider is going to test me for Group B streptococcus (GBS, also called Group B strep).

GBS infection is a common bacterial infection that is generally not serious in adults, but can be life-threatening to newborns. All pregnant women should be screened for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. The health care provider takes a swab of the vagina and rectum and sends the sample to a laboratory for a culture to test for the presence of GBS. Test results are usually available in 24 to 48 hours. Women who test positive for GBS are treated with antibiotics during labor.

Click here to read the March of Dimes fact sheet on Group B Strep Infection.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a special Web site devoted to Group B strep.