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Students with disabilities

Question:
How many students with disabilities receive services?

Response:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enacted in 1975, mandates that children and youth ages 321 with disabilities be provided a free and appropriate public school education. The percentage of total public school enrollment that represents children served by federally supported special education programs increased from 8.3 percent to 13.8 percent between 197677 and 200405. Much of this overall increase can be attributed to a rise in the percentage of students identified as having specific learning disabilities from 197677 (1.8 percent) to 200405 (5.7 percent). The overall percentage of students being served in programs for those with disabilities decreased between 200405 (13.8 percent) and 201011 (13.0 percent). However, there were different patterns of change in the percentages served with some specific conditions between 200405 and 201011. The percentage of children identified as having other health impairments (limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes) rose from 1.1 to 1.4 percent of total public school enrollment, the percentage with autism rose from 0.4 to 0.8 percent, and the percentage with developmental delay rose from 0.7 to 0.8 percent. The percentage of children with specific learning disabilities declined from 5.7 percent to 4.8 percent of total public school enrollment during this period.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics, 2012 (NCES 2014-015), Chapter 2.

Children 3 to 21 years old served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B, by type of disability: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2010-11

Type of disability

197677 198081 199091 200001 200203 200405 200506 200607 2007081 2008091 200910 2010112
Number served (in thousands)
All disabilities 3,694 4,144 4,710 6,296 6,523 6,719 6,713 6,686 6,606 6,483 6,481 6,419
Specific learning disabilities 796 1,462 2,129 2,868 2,848 2,798 2,735 2,665 2,573 2,476 2,431 2,357
Speech or language impairments 1,302 1,168 985 1,409 1,412 1,463 1,468 1,475 1,456 1,426 1,416 1,390
Intellectual disability 961 830 534 624 602 578 556 534 500 478 463 447
Emotional disturbance 283 347 389 481 485 489 477 464 442 420 407 389
Hearing impairments 88 79 58 78 78 79 79 80 79 78 79 78
Orthopedic impairments 87 58 49 83 83 73 71 69 67 70 65 63
Other health impairments3 141 98 55 303 403 521 570 611 641 659 689 714
Visual impairments 38 31 23 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 28
Multiple disabilities --- 68 96 133 138 140 141 142 138 130 131 130
Deaf-blindness --- 3 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Autism --- --- --- 94 137 191 223 258 296 336 378 417
Traumatic brain injury --- --- --- 16 22 24 24 25 25 26 25 26
Developmental delay --- --- --- 178 283 332 339 333 358 354 368 381
Preschool disabled4 390
Number served as a percent of total enrollment5
All disabilities 8.3 10.1 11.4 13.3 13.5 13.8 13.7 13.6 13.4 13.2 13.1 13.0
Specific learning disabilities 1.8 3.6 5.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.6 5.4 5.2 5.0 4.9 4.8
Speech or language impairments 2.9 2.9 2.4 3.0 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.9 2.8
Intellectual disability 2.2 2.0 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.9
Emotional disturbance 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8
Hearing impairments 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Orthopedic impairments 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Other health impairments3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.6 0.8 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4
Visual impairments 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Multiple disabilities --- 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Deaf-blindness --- # # # # # # # # # # #
Autism --- --- --- 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.8
Traumatic brain injury --- --- --- # # # # 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Developmental delay --- --- --- 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8
Preschool disabled4 0.9

--- Not available.
Not applicable.
# Rounds to zero.
1Data do not include Vermont, for which 200708 and 200809 data were not available. In 200607, the total number of 3- to 21-year-olds served in Vermont was 14,010.
2Data do not include Wyoming, for which 2010-11 data were not available. In 200910, the total number of 3- to 21-year-olds served in Wyoming was 15,098.
3Other health impairments include having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes.
4For 199091, preschool children are not included in the counts by disability condition, but are separately reported. For other years, preschool children are included in the counts by disability condition.
5Based on the total enrollment in public schools, prekindergarten through 12th grade.

NOTE: Prior to October 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 1994-95 include children ages 0-21 served under Chapter 1. Data are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia only. Increases since 198788 are due in part to new legislation enacted in fall 1986, which added a mandate for public school special education services for 3- to 5-year-old children with disabilities. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics, 2012 (NCES 2014-015), Table 48.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

Other Resources:  (Listed by Release Date)


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education