Objectives: To understand the current status of intellectually disabled children and the prevalence of intellectual disability (ID) in children aged 0 approximately 6 years and its risk factors, and to provide scientific evidence to formulate relevant policies for helping intellectually disabled children.
Methods: Multiphase, stratified, unequal proportional and cluster sampling was adopted to investigate 60 124 children aged 0 approximately 6 years. All the children investigated were screened for ID using the Denver Developmental Screening Test, and those with positive screening test would be further diagnosed by varied specialists using the Gesell Developmental Inventory.
Results: In total, 560 of 60 124 children were diagnosed as intellectually disabled with an overall prevalence of 0.93%. Prevalence of ID was highest in children living in medium-developed areas with a prevalence of 1.20%, higher than in those living in developed areas (0.75%) and in underdeveloped areas (0.84%). It was higher in rural areas (1.03%) than in urban areas (0.83%), and higher in boys (1.01%) than in girls (0.84%). Prevalence of ID increased with the age of children and decreased with the educational level of their parents.
Conclusions: The study suggested that ID is still prevalent in the children of China, and rehabilitation for them is lagging behind current needs. Early prevention of ID in children and pre-school education for them should be strengthened.