Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:97-102 | Number 2, April 2008
Clinical profile of young children with mental retardation and developmental delay in Hong Kong
Kitty ML Tang, Theresa YK Chen, Vanessa WY Lau, Morris MF Wu
Child Assessment Service, Department of Health, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To report the clinical profile of children with mental retardation and developmental delay diagnosed by the Child Assessment Service.
DESIGN. Retrospective study.
SETTING. Child Assessment Service, Department of Health, Hong Kong.
PARTICIPANTS. Data pertaining to the children with mental retardation and developmental delay were drawn from an in-house clinical information system in the year 2004.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Clinical profiles including: sources, reasons and age of referral, diagnosis, gender ratio, co-morbidities, and socio-economic background.
RESULTS. In 2004, 23% (1463 of 6439) of Child Assessment Service referrals were diagnosed to have mental retardation or developmental delay. The Family Health Service was the major source of referral (64%). The majority (93%) of children were referred before the age of 6 years. The most common reason for referral was language delay (39%). More boys were affected (3 boys: 1 girl). The two most common co-morbidities were autistic spectrum disorders (33% in mental retardation and 19% in developmental delay) and discrepant language delay (17% in mental retardation and 47% in developmental delay). The socio-economic status of these families was higher than those in the general population.
CONCLUSION. The data presented here provide information on the descriptive epidemiology of mental retardation and developmental delay among Hong Kong children. Since mental retardation and developmental delay are common developmental disabilities in Hong Kong, public health education to promote and ensure early screening and identification of cases is an important prelude to early training and guidance for families with children having these conditions.
Key words: Mental retardation; Developmental disabilities; Health services needs and demand
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