Equity & Diversity Report Roundup

Special Education

By Christina A. Samuels — June 04, 2013 1 min read

The rates of autism for students of all races is on the increase, but students who are black, Hispanic, or American Indian are less likely to be identified with the disability compared with white and Asian students, says a study published last month in The Journal of Special Education.

The study used data collected by the federal government from 1998 to 2006 on the race and disability category of students in special education to calculate a “risk index"—the percentage of all enrolled students from a racial group with a specific disability.

White students were twice as likely to be identified as having an autism spectrum disorder as students who were Hispanic or American Indian/Alaska Native.

And black students went from being overrepresented in the autism population in 1998 and 1999 to being underrepresented every year thereafter.

A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 2013 edition of Education Week as Special Education

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