As a group,
research show children with disabilities are at greater risk of physical abuse
and neglect than others. A new study
to be published in the December 2015
issue of Pediatrics (published online Nov. 30), however, found that
maltreatment rates differ considerably among infants and toddlers with three
specific birth defects: Down syndrome, cleft lip with or without cleft palate,
and spina bifida. The study of roughly 3 million children born in Texas between
2002 and 2009 found that among those with Down syndrome under age 2, the rate
of maltreatment was not significantly higher than among unaffected children. In
contrast, children with spina bifida had a 58 percent higher rate of maltreatment,
while among those with cleft lip -- with or without cleft palate -- the rate
was 40 percent higher. The study’s authors said extra support programs are
needed for parents of children born with disabilities, particularly medically
complex conditions requiring intensive treatment and care during infancy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds.