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Social determinants of state variation in special education participation among preschoolers with developmental delays and disab

Posted Feb 23 2011 1:00am

Sometimes things we think should be constant aren’t. This is very clear with autism, where “rates” vary with time and geography. Anyone have a reason why the autism prevalence in Alabama is almost 1/2 that of New Jersey?

These sorts of issues intrigue me. So when a paper showed up recently in one of my pubmed searches, I had to take a look.

Children with developmental disabilities are at risk for secondary complications and lower academic performance, which contributes to lower health and well-being and may be ameliorated by access to special education services. This paper examines state variability in preschool special education participation among a United States population-based cohort with parent-reported developmental delays and disabilities. Analyses explore the extent to which observed variability can be explained by state socio-economic attributes and special education policy and funding. Rates of special education varied significantly across states and were highest in states with least income inequality and lowest in states with most income inequality. Place variation in preschool special education participation stems, in part, from child characteristics, but to a larger extent, from state socio-economic attributes.

Preschool programs for special ed kids have a wide variability in the attendance rates. Here’s a map that shows this variability ( click to enlarge ):



State differences in preschool special education participation among a national sample of 3–5 year olds (n=2435) with developmental delays and disabilities.

Being “non poor” or having a more “severe” condition is associated with attending special ed preschools. Where the funding comes from (state vs. local) has an impact on how many kids attend special ed preschool.

I don’t consider this study to be the most rigorous possible, but it does give us a view that social factors can have a large impact on issues such as special education participation.

  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Social determinants of state variation in special education participation among preschoolers with developmental delays and disabilities « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com:
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