Nearly 1 in 5 School-Aged Children Have Some Kind of Basic Functioning Difficulty

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that children with and without functioning difficulty differ greatly in their use of educational and health care services. This report presents estimates of basic actions difficulty, which includes difficulties related to sensory, motor, cognitive, and emotional or behavioral functioning, in U.S. children aged 5–17 years based on questions from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Here are some results:

  • Approximately 18% of children aged 5–17 had basic actions difficulty in one or more of the following domains of functioning: sensory, movement, cognitive, or emotional or behavioral.
  • The percentage of children with difficulty in specific domains varied: 3% had sensory difficulty, 2% movement difficulty, 9% cognitive difficulty, and 10% emotional or behavioral difficulty.
  • From 2001 through 2007, the percentage of children aged 5–17 with basic actions difficulty remained stable at about 18%.

In addition, income was influential. Poor children (3%) were more likely to have movement difficulty than children who were not poor (2%). See the chart below.

Prevalence of any basic actions difficulty among children aged 5–17 years, by poverty status: United States, average annual estimates for 2001–2007

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