The Office of Disability Prevention for Children works to prevent developmental disabilities and seeks to minimize the losses preventable disabilities cause, especially in infants and young children. With its partners, ODPC develops outreach campaigns focusing on awareness and education.

OPDC is governed by Texas Human Resource Code §112.041-112.051 and is the successor to the former Texas Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities.

What is a Developmental Disability?

Developmental disability is an umbrella term that refers to many disabilities. For ODPC, statute defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic disability that:

  • Is a mental or physical impairment, or both
  • Manifested before a person reaches the age of 22
  • Will likely continue indefinitely
  • Results in substantial limitations in three or more major life activities:
  • Self-care
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Learning, mobility, self-direction
  • Capacity for independent living and economic sufficiency
  • Requires a combination of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other lifelong or extended services

Research has helped us identify the cause of about two-thirds of all developmental disabilities. While some disabilities are genetic and unpreventable, other disabilities can be completely prevented.

Which Developmental Disabilities are Preventable?

Many developmental disabilities are preventable, including:

  • Brain injuries
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Neural tube defects
  • Other physical or intellectual disabilities

There are a number of different preventable factors that increase the risk of or can cause a developmental disability.

  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco or other substance, including prescription medications
  • Prenatal exposure to certain toxins and heavy metals
  • Maternal folic acid (vitamin B) deficiency during pregnancy
  • Maternal obesity or unmanaged maternal diabetes during pregnancy
  • Maternal infection during pregnancy
  • Premature birth and low birth weight
  • Delivery complications

Risk factors and causes that occur during infancy and childhood

  • Unaddressed health conditions like severe jaundice or congenital hypothyroidism
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Abuse or assault
  • Being struck by or against something
  • Infection
  • Near drowning

What Does ODPC do to Help?

ODPC works to prevent disabilities through:

  • Provider and public education
  • Promotion of public policy
  • Educating the public
  • Working with other state 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

How Can I Get Involved?

ODPC hosts quarterly stakeholder meetings in Austin. You can also call into the meetings. You’ll have a chance to visit with professionals, advocates and families to join the conversation and share your vision for disability prevention in Texas.

Email us at odpc@hhsc.state.tx.us to join our distribution list to receive updates about future stakeholder meetings.