Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 50. Children 3 to 21 years old served in federally supported programs for the disabled, by type of disability: Selected years, 1976–77 through 2006–07
Type of disability 1976–77 1980–81 1990–91 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
  Number served (in thousands)
All disabilities 3,694 4,144 4,710 5,572 5,737 5,908 6,056 6,195 6,296 6,407 6,523 6,634 6,719 6,713 6,686
Specific learning disabilities 796 1,462 2,129 2,578 2,651 2,727 2,790 2,834 2,868 2,861 2,848 2,831 2,798 2,735 2,665
Speech or language impairments 1,302 1,168 985 1,022 1,045 1,060 1,068 1,080 1,409 1,391 1,412 1,441 1,463 1,468 1,475
Mental retardation 961 830 534 571 579 589 597 600 624 616 602 593 578 556 534
Emotional disturbance 283 347 389 437 446 454 462 469 481 483 485 489 489 477 464
Hearing impairments 88 79 58 67 68 69 70 71 78 78 78 79 79 79 80
Orthopedic impairments 87 58 49 63 66 67 69 71 83 83 83 77 73 71 69
Other health impairments1  141 98 55 133 160 190 220 253 303 350 403 464 521 570 611
Visual impairments 38 31 23 25 25 26 26 26 29 28 29 28 29 29 29
Multiple disabilities 68 96 93 98 106 106 111 133 136 138 140 140 141 142
Deaf-blindness 3 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Autism 28 34 42 53 65 94 114 137 163 191 223 258
Traumatic brain injury 9 10 12 13 14 16 22 22 23 24 24 25
Developmental delay 2 12 19 178 242 283 305 332 339 333
Preschool disabled2  390 544 555 565 568 581
  Percentage distribution of children served
All disabilities 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Specific learning disabilities 21.5 35.3 45.2 46.3 46.2 46.2 46.1 45.7 45.5 44.7 43.7 42.7 41.6 40.7 39.9
Speech or language impairments 35.2 28.2 20.9 18.3 18.2 17.9 17.6 17.4 22.4 21.7 21.6 21.7 21.8 21.9 22.1
Mental retardation 26.0 20.0 11.3 10.2 10.1 10.0 9.9 9.7 9.9 9.6 9.2 8.9 8.6 8.3 8.0
Emotional disturbance 7.7 8.4 8.3 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.5 7.4 7.4 7.3 7.1 6.9
Hearing impairments 2.4 1.9 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2
Orthopedic impairments 2.4 1.4 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0
Other health impairments1  3.8 2.4 1.2 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.6 4.1 4.8 5.5 6.2 7.0 7.7 8.5 9.1
Visual impairments 1.0 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Multiple disabilities 1.6 2.0 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.8 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1
Deaf-blindness 0.1 # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Autism 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.9 1.0 1.5 1.8 2.1 2.5 2.8 3.3 3.9
Traumatic brain injury 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Developmental delay 0.0 0.2 0.3 2.8 3.8 4.3 4.6 4.9 5.1 5.0
Preschool disabled2  8.3 9.8 9.7 9.6 9.4 9.4
  Number served as a percent of total enrollment3 
All disabilities 8.3 10.1 11.4 12.4 12.6 12.8 13.0 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.7 13.8 13.7 13.6
Specific learning disabilities 1.8 3.6 5.2 5.8 5.8 5.9 6.0 6.0 6.1 6.0 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.6 5.4
Speech or language impairments 2.9 2.9 2.4 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 3.0 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
Mental retardation 2.2 2.0 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1
Emotional disturbance 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.9
Hearing impairments 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 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 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1
Other health impairments1  0.3 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.2
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 0.1 0.1 0.1
Multiple disabilities 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Deaf-blindness # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Autism 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5
Traumatic brain injury # # # # # # # # # # # 0.1
Developmental delay # # # 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7
Preschool disabled2  0.9 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2
— Not available.
† Not applicable.
# Rounds to zero.
1 Other 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.
2 Includes preschool children ages 3–5 served under Chapter 1 and IDEA, Part B. Prior to 1987–88, these students were included in the counts by disability condition. Beginning in 1987–88, states were no longer required to report preschool children (ages 0–5) by disability condition. Beginning in 2000–01, preschool children were again identified by disability condition.
3 Based on the total enrollment in public schools, prekindergarten through 12th grade.
NOTE: Includes students served under Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly the Education of the Handicapped Act. Prior to October 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under Chapter 1 as well as IDEA, Part B. In October 1994, funding for children and youth with disabilities was consolidated under IDEA, Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 1994–95 include children ages 0–21 served under Chapter 1. Counts are based on reports from the 50 states and the District of Columbia only (i.e., table excludes data for other jurisdictions). Increases since 1987–88 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 disabled children. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, selected years, 1977 through 2006; and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) database, retrieved August 1, 2008, from http://www.ideadata.org/PartBdata.asp. National Center for Education Statistics, Statistics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Systems, 1977; Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1981–82 through 2006–07. (This table was prepared October 2008.)
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education