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Speech or Language Impairments: Second Most Prevalent Disability Category

(February 8, 2016)

According to the recently released 37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2015, [PDF] "speech or language impairments" was the second most prevalent disability category in 2013 (at 17.9%) for students ages 6–21 served under IDEA, Part B. The most prevalent category continues to be "specific learning disabilities" (at 39.5%). Other highlights of the report include the following facts:

  • The most prevalent disability category of children ages 3–5 served under IDEA, Part B, was "speech or language impairments" (44.2%). The next most common disability category was "developmental delay" (37.1%), followed by "autism" (8.4%).
  • Hispanic or Latino students ages 6–21 were 1.34, 1.21, 1.29, and 1.06 times more likely to be served under IDEA, Part B, for "hearing impairments," "orthopedic impairments," "specific learning disabilities," and "speech and language impairments," respectively, than were students ages 6–21 in all other racial/ethnic groups combined.
  • "Speech or language impairments" was the second or third most prevalent category for students ages 6–21 in every racial/ethnic group.
  • More than 8 in 10 students who reported under the category of "speech or language impairments" (87.1%) were educated inside the regular class 80% or more of the day.

Background

The Report to Congress on the Implementation of the IDEA [PDF] contains six major sections that address the five annual report requirements contained in Section 664(d) of IDEA. The six sections are as follows:

  1. A summary and analysis of IDEA Section 618 data at the national level
  2. A summary and analysis of IDEA Section 618 data at the state level
  3. A summary and analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s findings and determinations regarding the extent to which states are meeting the requirements of IDEA, Parts B and C
  4. A summary of special education research conducted under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002
  5. A summary of national special education studies and evaluations conducted under Sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA
  6. A summary of the extent and progress of the assessment of national activities, which focus on determining the effectiveness of IDEA and improving its implementation

Resources

For more information, see the report [PDF] on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, or contact Catherine D. Clarke, ASHA’s director of education and regulatory advocacy, at cclarke@asha.org or by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.


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