Children With Special Needs
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Every year, under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), millions of children with disabilities receive special services designed to meet their unique needs. For school-aged children and youth (aged 3-21), special education and related services are provided through the school system. These services can be very important in helping children and youth with disabilities develop, learn and succeed in school and other settings (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), 2009).
- For definitions of IDEA’s 13 disability categories, visit NICHCY at: http://www.nichcy.org/disabilities/categories/pages/Default.aspx
Students with Special Learning Needs (Exceptionalities)
Students with disabilities or special learning needs in Florida – called exceptionalities by the Florida Department of Education – include children with speech or language impairment, emotional/behavioral disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, specific learning disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, developmental disabilities and gifted children.
NOTE: students who have been designated as having more than one exceptionality are only counted once using their primary exceptionality.
Pinellas County Students with Exceptionalities
The number of Pinellas County public school students with disabilities has consistently declined since the 2003 school year (see chart 1). In addition, the percentage of the entire student membership designated as having disabilities also declined, falling from 18.2% in 2003 to 14.2% in 2009 (see chart 2). In the fall of 2009 there were 14,631 students delineated as having disabilities and 5,727 students defined as gifted in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County Students by Type of Exceptionality
Students with communications disorders comprise the largest group of exceptionalities in Florida, with Pinellas County having a lower percentage of students with communication disorders than the state. However, the percentage of Pinellas County students classified as having emotional disorders is almost double that of the state (see chart 3).
The disability categories included for each exceptionality are as follows:
- Communication - speech impaired, language impaired, specific learning disabled.
- Emotional - emotional/behavioral disability
- Intellectual – intellectual disability
- Physical - orthopedically impaired, traumatic brain injured
- Developmental – autism spectrum disorder, developmentally delayed
- Sensory - deaf or hard of hearing, visually Impaired, duel sensory impaired
- Other – Other health impaired, hospital/homebound, established conditions
Read More About It:
- PARC - Discovery Learning Center
- Achieve Tampa Bay - Child Care Outreach
- Achieve Tampa Bay - Respite
- Carlton Manor - Therapeutic Group Home
- NFC Coalition - Sanderlin NFC Family Center on Deafness
- CCC - Community Contracts - R'Club - Exceptional Student Scholarships
Pinellas Indicators has ZIP Code data on disabilities: http://www.pinellasindicators.org/pdf/Disabilities_2000.pdf
The Effect of Special Education Vouchers on Public School Achievement: Evidence From Florida’s McKay Scholarship Programs: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/cr_52.pdf