The number of young children with disabilities receiving early intervention and special education dropped dramatically in recent years and access to these services varied significantly by state, according to a new report issued by the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.
For the report, researchers looked at data from the 2020-2021 school year and evaluated trends between the 2005-2006 and 2020-2021 academic years.
They found that 3.7% of children under age 3 received early intervention in the fall of 2020, but access was far from equitable. At the high end, 10% of Massachusetts youngsters were enrolled in the program, compared to a low of just 1% in Arkansas and Hawaii.
Meanwhile, 6% of kids ages 3 and 4 received special education services nationally, but that number ranged from 14% in Wyoming to under 3% in Alabama.
The report also found that Black, Hispanic and Asian children were less likely than white kids to be in early intervention or special education at young ages.
Katherine Neas, deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education, stated, “We know that when we help kids get the supports that they need at the earliest age, they have better life outcomes. I think we need to think creatively about what the solutions are to these problems.”
To read an article on the report published in Disability Scoop, click here.
To access the full report directly, click here.