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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