Office of Disability Prevention for Children (ODPC)

What Does ODPC do to Help?

ODPC works to promote respect, foster understanding and highlight the importance of prevention and early intervention initiatives in the lives of Texas children and families.

Through education and community collaboration, ODPC works to prevent disabilities in children from the time of conception to the age of 12. ODPC's goal is to prevent disability before it happens and minimize any negative consequences through:

  • Education and public awareness.
  • Promotion of sound public policy.
  • Collaboration with state and local agencies, community groups and various other stakeholders.
  • Developing long-term plans to monitor and reduce the incidence and severity of developmental disabilities.
  • Evaluating state efforts to prevent developmental disabilities.

Read the Preventing Disability (PDF) to learn more about the levels of disability prevention.

Areas of Focus

Prevention of Disabilities Caused by Maternal Health Issues During Pregnancy

A mother's health before and during pregnancy has an important impact on how her baby develops neurologically and physiologically. A mother’s nutrition, exposure to toxins, or infections all have the potential to cause birth defects and permanent intellectual or developmental disabilities. Proper pre-conception and prenatal care can help a mother maintain a healthy pregnancy, ultimately helping her baby’s development.

Read the Healthy Pregnancy (PDF) to learn more about preventing disabilities caused by maternal health issues during pregnancy.

Prevention of Disabilities Caused by Childhood Injuries

Injury is the leading cause of death in children in the United States, and millions of children suffer injuries requiring treatment in the emergency department. According to the CDC, childhood injury is among the most under-recognized public health problems facing the country.

The good news is that most childhood injuries are preventable. Office of Disability Prevention for Children partners with national, state, and local agencies to provide prevention and education services aimed at parents and caregivers.

Read the Childhood Injury Prevention (PDF) to learn more about childhood injury prevention resources.

Read the Prevention of Childhood Brain Injury (PDF) to learn more.

Read the Childhood Injury Prevention Resources (PDF) for more information.

Early Identification and Diagnosis of Disabilities to Ensure Early Intervention and Services

Early intervention can make a huge difference in the lives of children who are at-risk for or who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Connecting children with services early on can build the foundation they need to develop their cognitive, behavioral and physical skills as they grow. Early intervention can also dramatically reduce the cost of services later in a child's life.

However, early intervention is not possible without early identification. Families and medical providers have an important role in tracking the development of a child to determine if they are falling behind.

Read the Early Identification and Diagnosis of IDD (PDF) to learn about monitoring developmental milestones, identifying developmental delays and the signs and symptoms of brain injury in children.

Promoting Mental Health Wellness for Children with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

When a child has both a developmental disability and a mental health condition, it's called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. The co-occurrence of mental health conditions or substance use affects at least one third of people with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Unfortunately, mental health resources for children with IDD are limited and confusing, many providers lack the training they need to provide services, and there is a lack of awareness of the issue.

Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder are often diagnosed in children with IDD. Symptoms can be improved with access to quality behavioral health services, trauma-informed care and opportunities for recovery.

Read the Promoting Mental Health Wellness in Children with IDD (PDF) to learn more about promoting mental health wellness in children with IDD and available resources.

Additional Resources

2023 Texas Intellectual and Developmental Disability Prevention Resource Guide (PDF)

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is a statewide program for families with children birth to age 3 who have developmental delays, disabilities or certain medical diagnoses that may impact development.

Since 1981, the Texas ECI program has provided supports and services to over 950,000 children and their families. To hear what families say about ECI services, view the Texas ECI: Family to Family video.

If you are concerned about how a baby or toddler in your life is growing, visit ECI Information for Families for a developmental checklist, information about ECI services and why addressing development concerns early is important.

After reviewing the checklist, if you notice your child is not on target, or suspect a developmental delay, visit the ECI Program Search page or call 877-787-8999 to find the ECI program in your area to make a referral.

For more information about developmental delays, including a free app to help you track your child’s milestones, visit the CDC Learn the Signs! Act Early website.

Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS)

Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome is a medical condition where a child suddenly develops obsessive-compulsive symptoms or severe eating restrictions along with at least two other cognitive, behavioral or neurological symptoms. Symptoms typically appear following an infection or other inflammatory reaction. An estimated 1–2% of children are affected by PANS, according to the PANS Research Consortium. Estimates suggest that about 11,000 children younger than 18 years old develop this illness each year in Texas.

For more information about PANS, visit the ASPIRE or PANS Advisory Council websites.

How Can I Get Involved?

Help distribute free ODPC education materials to medical offices, hospitals, treatment centers, parents, caregivers, schools, and other stakeholders in your community. Log in to the Pinnacle site to sign up and order the free program materials available in English and Spanish.

Email ODPC to join our distribution list to receive updates about future program events, including webinars, stakeholder meetings, and the Annual ODPC Conference.