Key Findings—Use of Special Education Services among Children with Congenital Heart Defects
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What did we already know?
What does this study add?
What were this study's main findings?
- Children with CHDs who did not have any other birth defects were 50% more likely to receive special education services compared to children without birth defects.
- Particular needs for special education were more common among children with CHDs:
- Intellectual disability
- Sensory impairment, meaning a child is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or has visual impairment
- Significant developmental delay
- Specific learning disability
- Other health impairment, meaning that because of a health condition (for example, a CHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) the child has a limited alertness in his/her educational environment, which affects performance and requires specialized instruction
- Increased use of certain special education services occurred among both those with a critical CHD (types of CHDs that need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life) and those with a non-critical CHD. This means that the increased use of special education services observed overall among all children with CHDs was likely not because more children with critical CHDs needed services.
About this Study
- For this study, researchers looked at children with a CHD born in metropolitan Atlanta from 1982 to 2004. They also looked at children without a birth defect born in metropolitan Atlanta during the same time period. Researchers then linked all these children to data about use of special education services for the 1992-2012 school years. Researchers analyzed this linked data to assess use of special education services among children with CHDs compared with children without birth defects.
- Children with genetic syndromes or birth defects besides CHDs were not included in this study.
- Children with CHDs were classified by their type of CHD and whether or not they had a critical CHD.
CDC’s Activities: Congenital Heart Defects
- Disease tracking:
- Infants and children: CDC funds and coordinates the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP). CDC also funds 14 population-based state tracking programs. Birth defects tracking systems are vital to help us find out where and when birth defects occur and whom they affect.
- Adolescents and adults: CDC recently started three projects to track CHDs among adolescents and adults in order to learn about their health issues and needs across the lifespan.
- Research: CDC funds the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, which collaborate on large studies such as the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, or NBDPS (births 1997-2011) and the Birth Defects Study To Evaluate Pregnancy exposureS, or BD-STEPS (began with births in 2014). These studies are working to identify factors that put babies at risk for birth defects, including heart defects.
- Collaboration: CDC provides technical assistance to the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium, a unique collaboration that brings together families, experts, and organizations to address CHDs.
CDC’s Activities: Special Education
- Reller MD, Strickland MJ, Riehle-Colarusso T, Mahle WT, Correa A. Prevalence of congenital heart defects in metropolitan Atlanta, 1998-2005. J Pediatr. 2008;153(6):807–813.
- Oster M, Lee K, Honein M, Colarusso T, Shin M, Correa A. Temporal Trends in Survival for Infants with Critical Congenital Heart Defects. Pediatrics. 2013; 131:e1502-e1508.
- U.S. Department of Education. http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,300,A,300%252E39,