Staggering Statistics: The Need for Special Education
Who needs special education? According to national statistics, perhaps the better question is, who doesn’t? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six children in the United States has a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities, such as speech and language impairments, to severe developmental disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disability.
In 2018, the CDC reported the estimated prevalence of autism among the nation’s children to be 1 in 59 children, a fifteen percent (15%) increase from 1 in 68 children two years prior.
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013), the American Psychiatric Association reported that five percent (5%) of children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, three years later in 2016, a parent-reported study on ADHD diagnosis and treatment, approximately 6.1 million or nine point four percent (9.4%) of children ages 2-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD. Further, nearly two-thirds (64%) of children with ADHD also had another mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder such as conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, autism, or Tourette syndrome.
According to Paediatrics & Child Health, five to ten percent (5% to 10%) of the population is considered to have dyslexia. Linda S. Siegel, Perspectives on Dyslexia, Paediatrics & Child Health (Dec. 2006), at 581-87.
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