But statistics are important in the disability arena, and I have discovered an important resource that provides a wealth of disability related statistics. An agency with a brutal name provides a great service. The agency is the Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Disability Statistics & Demographics, or to its friends - Stats-RRC. Here is their website.
They publish an annual report with a wealth of information. The Annual disability Statistics Compendium - 2009 is a gold mine. The 160 page report has all kinds of statistics on the prevalence of disabilities, and the education and employment of persons with disabilities. You can download or read the entire report here.
Here are some stats to whet your appetite: 21.1% of Americans have a disability of some sort. The state with the lowest percentage of people with a disability is Utah with 8.9%. The highest is West Virginia with 19%.
As of the Fall of 2007, of the total of 49 Million students aged 6-17 in the United States, about 5.6 Million, or about 11.4%, receive special education services under IDEA. Of the 5.9 Million students aged 6 to 21 who receive special education services under IDEA, about 4.7 Million, or 79.8 %, spend at least 40% of their day in the regular education classroom. (As with most other categories in the report, there are breakdowns for these stats by state.)
By type of disability, the 5.9 Million students aged 6 to 21 receiving special education under IDEA, the breakdown by eligibility category is as follows:
2.6 Million specific learning disability 43.3%
1.1 Million speech/language impairment 19.2%
624,000 other health impairment 10.6%
487,000 mental retardation 8.3%
438,000 emotional disturbance 7.4%
257,000 autism 4.3%
131,000 multiple disabilities 2.2%
88,000 developmental delay 1.5%
71,000 hearing impairment 1.2%
60,000 orthopedic impairment 1.0%
26,000 visual impairment 0.4%
24,000 traumatic brain injury 0.4%
1,300 deaf/blindness 0.02%
There is a lot more detail in the charts and statistics contained in the report. I highly recommend it to everybody interested in special education.