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Study: Wait For Developmental Specialists Often 5 Months Or More

Posted Apr 5, 2017 - 4:59pm

According to the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the national average wait time for developmental pediatric evaluations is approximately 5 months.

Of 244 hospitals listed, 140 unique programs were identified and called in English. One hundred four programs were reached. Ninety programs met inclusion criteria, 75 provided an estimated wait time. The mean estimate was 5.4 months (standard deviation: 4.5).

For Spanish-language speakers, the results were even more discouraging:

Among these 75 programs, 62 were reached in Spanish but only 55% provided a wait time estimate; 31% did not provide language accommodations. The difference between average estimates obtained in English and Spanish was not statistically significant.

Their conclusion: "Among a national sample of US children's hospitals, we identified barriers to evaluations conducted by developmental pediatricians including long wait times and inadequate Spanish language accommodations at some programs. More work is needed to identify optimal strategies to connect children with developmental concerns to evaluations when necessary."

According to Disability Scoop, the delays are largely attributed to an "alarmingly low" number of doctors with the expertise to evaluate and treat kids with developmental disabilities.

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