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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Educational Inclusion Varies by State

At Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Jennifer A. Kurth has an article titled "Educational Placement of Students With Autism: The Impact of State of Residence."  The abstract:
Typically, child characteristics such as IQ and severity of autism symptoms are thought to determine educational placement. The present study examines external factors, including state of residence and state funding formulas, to determine their potential influence on placement outcomes. Findings reveal that considerable variations exist among states in placing students with autism spectrum disorders in inclusive, mainstreaming, self-contained, and separate schools. This variation suggests that factors beyond child characteristics, such as IQ, play a major role in educational placement decisions. Furthermore, states in the Eastern United States tend to have more restrictive placement rates than states in the Western United States. State special education funding was found to have a minimal impact on placement outcomes. As a whole, it is unlikely that child characteristics alone determine placement outcomes.
From the article:
States range in the percentage of students who are educated in general education settings for 80% or more of the school day from 8% (Washington, D.C.) to 62% (Iowa). The average percent of students with ASDs in the 51 states (50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.) was 36.6%, with a standard deviation of 10.8. Inspection of Figure 1 further reveals that 7 of the 10 most inclusive states are West of the Mississippi River (Western United States). Of the 10 least inclusive states, 7 of those states are in the Eastern United States (East of the Mississippi River).