In 2020-21, the number of students ages 3-21 who received special education services in the US under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.2 million, or 15 percent of all public school students.
The percentage varied by state from 11.3 percent in Hawaii and Texas to 20.5 percent in New York.
Of those students, 19% have a speech or language impairment, 12% are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, a third are diagnosed with “a specific learning disability” and 15% have ‘another health impairment’.
In 2020, a majority of special education students—66 percent of those ages 6-21 and 5-year-olds in kindergarten—spend 80 percent or more of their time in regular education classes. That number has more than doubled in recent decades.
Students with special needs are a hugely diverse group — most students in special education in the US have IEPs — individualized education programs. That means that the technology that supports special education students must be really powerful, flexible, and, obviously, accessible. It also means that some programs focus on certain subpopulations.
So how can Edtech improve special education?
Amplio CEO and Founder, Dr. Yair Sahpira, accompanied by Dr. Luann L. Purcell, former Executive Director of the international Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Dr. Judy Rich, the 2022 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and Angelica Morgan, Senior Curriculum Engineer at 2U and a research intern at CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology — all lead a panel discussion about how Edtech can best support Special Education.