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Special-Education Column

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Children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities are more likely to be abused than nondisabled children, according to a study by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The center, which is part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, looked at 1,834 cases of maltreatment of children reported by child-welfare agencies.

The study found that children with disabilities were more than twice as likely to be physically abused, nearly twice as likely to be sexually abused, and nearly three times as likely to be emotionally neglected as their nondisabled peers.

For copies of the study, termed the first nationwide report on the scope of the abuse and neglect of children with disabilities, call the Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, (703) 385-7565 or (800) FYI-3366.

Efforts to bring people with mental retardation into the workplace should begin early in schooling, according to a report released this month by The Arc, formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens.

Citing a 1992 study that followed 8,000 former special-education students, the report notes that 48 percent of the students with retardation were not working three to five years after leaving school. Over all, however, only 38 percent of the total group were unemployed.

In addition, while 57 percent of all the students in the study were working in competitive workplaces--those in which most workers do not have disabilities--only 37 percent of people with mental disabilities were working in similar mainstream environments.

To address these disparities, The Arc recommends that parents be informed that children with mental retardation can learn to engage in competitive, full-time employment. They also suggest that educators prepare students with disabilities for employment early in their education, by including these students in mainstream classrooms and employment-skills training.

Copies of the report are available for $3 each from The Arc, 500 East Border St., S-300, Arlington, Tex. 76010; (817) 261-6003.

A $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will help Florida State University researchers determine how to prevent reading disabilities in academically at-risk children.

The five-year study will monitor the progress of 170 kindergartners who are found to be at risk of having dyslexia.

The researchers plan to divide the children into three groups to test the comparative efficacy for each child of three different approaches to reading education.

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