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Children with special needs living in high-poverty neighborhoods are less likely to receive special services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Importance

IEPs, mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA, reauthorized in 2004),[1] are specific education programs for students with disabilities (in kindergarten or higher grades), created with input from teachers, parents, special education teachers, and, when appropriate, the students themselves. IEPs include information such as the student’s current academic performance, annual goals, services received, anticipated needs for transition services, and how progress will be measured. IEPs should be detailed, and designed to meet the unique needs of the child. Research has shown that the quality of IEP documentation is related to the quality and quantity of services received by students with disabilities.[2]

Early, accurately targeted interventions help each student learn to the best of his or her ability, improve the quality of their education, and avoid future problems, such as grade retention or academic failure. Families of minority cultural or ethnic backgrounds, and those with low-incomes, are less likely to access early intervention services, and are less likely to participate in the IEP process.[3] Thus, it is important to ensure that the IEP process is culturally and linguistically sensitive.[4] The 1997 legislation put an emphasis on parental involvement in the IEP process.[5]

An IEP can serve as an opportunity for the student to acquire knowledge about his or her own disability, and how he or she can contribute to decisions about their own program. The IDEA legislation requires that children and youth ages 14 and older be asked to participate in any meetings about their IEP.[6] Research shows that students who play a role in leading their IEP meetings know more about their own disabilities and rights, and may also gain in self-esteem.[7]

Trends

98_fig1Between 2001 and 2012, the proportion of children in kindergarten through third grade receiving special services through an IEP increased, from 6 to 11 percent. (Figure 1)

Among all children with special needs,[i] 54 percent were receiving special services through an IEP in 2012, nearly twice as many as in 2003 (28 percent). (Appendix 2) Of those children receiving IEP services, more than half (59 percent) had some type of speech or language delay. About one-third (30 percent) were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and one in seven (15 percent) were diagnosed with autism.[8]

Differences by Gender

Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls are to receive special services through an IEP. In 2012, 14 percent of boys in kindergarten through third grade had an IEP, compared with 8 percent of girls in the same grades. This gap fell sharply between 2007 and 2012. (Figure 1) As recently as 2007, there was a substantial gap between boys and girls with special needs in their likelihood of receiving services through an IEP; however, in 2012 there was no significant difference by gender on this measure. (Appendix 2)

Differences by Receipt of Public Assistance

98_fig2In 2012, children in households receiving Medicaid benefits in the last year were nearly twice as likely to have IEPs as children in households which did not receive Medicaid (16 and 9 percent, respectively). Similar, though smaller, contrasts are found between children in households receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps), and their counterparts not receiving such assistance. However, there were no significant differences in IEP rates between children in households receiving and not receiving WIC or TANF services and benefits. (Figure 2, Appendix 1)

However, among children with special needs, receipt of public assistance is not associated with a greater prevalence of IEPs. (Appendix 2)

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin[9]

In 2012, Asian children were less likely than white or black children to have an IEP (6 percent, compared with 11 and 13 percent, respectively). There were no other significant differences by race. (Appendix 1) Among children with special needs, there were no significant differences by race and ethnicity in their likelihood of receiving IEP services. (Appendix 2)

Differences by Neighborhood Poverty

98_fig3Students in kindergarten through third-grade are much less likely to have an IEP if they live in a high- poverty neighborhood. In 2012, six percent of students living in a neighborhood with a child poverty rate of 20 percent or more received special services through an IEP, compared with at least ten percent of students who live in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. (Figure 3) Patterns are similar among children with special needs.

 

 

Differences by Immigrant Status

In 2012, children with native-born parents were more likely than native-born children with one or immigrant parents (12 and 9 percent, respectively) to have an IEP. (Appendix 1)
However, among children with special needs there were no significant differences in receipt of IEP services by these categories. (Appendix 2)

State and Local Estimates

State estimates for children (ages 6 to 11, and 12 to 17) with an IEP are available from the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health.

International Estimates

None available.

National Goals

According to the US Department of Education, every
child receiving special education services must have an Individualized
Education Program.

What Works to Make Progress on This Indicator

For children who have a learning disability, early diagnosis and subsequent development of an IEP are essential to their academic success. Students who have undiagnosed learning disabilities are less likely to receive the services they need and are entitled to, are more likely to be retained in school, and are at risk for becoming disengaged from school. Research has shown that the quality of IEP documentation is related to the quality and quantity of services received by students with disabilities.[10],[11]

Related Indicators

Definition

Data for this indicator include children in kindergarten through third grade, or the equivalent if they are home-schooled or in an ungraded program.

After 2003, children were counted as receiving IEP services if their parents reported they received special services for one or more disabilities, and then answered yes to the question: “Are any of these services provided through an Individualized Education Program or Plan (IEP)?”. In 2012, an additional screening question was added prior that asked whether the child was receiving any services for his or her condition.

Data from 2001 are based on the question: “Are any of these services provided through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP)?”

Data Source

Child Trends’ original analyses of data from the National Household Education Survey.

Raw Data Source

National Household Education
Surveys

http://nces.ed.gov/nhes/

 

Appendix 1 – Percentage of Children in Grades K through 3 Receiving Services through an Individualized Education Program: Selected Years, 2001-2012

2001 2003 2007 2012
Total 6.1 6.8 8.4 10.8
Gender
Male 8.4 9.4 13.4 13.8
Female 3.7 4.0 3.2 7.7
Race/Ethnicity
Non-Hispanic white 6.1 7.5 7.6 11.4
Non-Hispanic black 8.9 6.6 14.5 13.4
Hispanic1 4.7 4.9 7.5 9.5
Asian or Pacific Islander 0.0 4.4 5.7
Other 6.7 7.5 10.5
Parental Education
Less than a high school degree 5.8 7.2 12.1
High school degree/equivalent 6.1 6.8 11.0 13.7
Some college/ vocational degree 8.1 7.4 9.4 12.5
Bachelor’s degree or more 4.6 6.2 6.5 7.8
Immigrant Status
Native-born with native-born parents 6.7 7.3 8.3 11.9
Native-born with a foreign-born parent 2.2 4.5 4.7 8.6
Foreign-born 7.3 3.2 7.9
2001 2003 2007 2012
Primary Language Spoken in the Home
Both parents’ main language is English 6.6 7.3 9.1 11.4
One parent’s main language is not English 1.8 5.5
Neither parent’s main language is English 2.4 2.1 4.8 7.1
Poverty level
Household income at or below poverty line 8.3 15.1 14.5
Household income above poverty line 6.4 6.5 9.7
WIC benefits
Received WIC benefits in the past 12 months 5.2 6.5 7.2 9.3
Did not receive WIC benefits in the past 12 months 6.2 6.8 8.5 11.1
TANF benefits
Received TANF benefits in the past 12 months 14.3 14.1
Did not receive TANF benefits in the past 12 months 6.2 7.4 10.6
Medicaid Receipt
Received Medicaid in the past 12 months 9.8 11.4 16.0 16.1
Did not receive Medicaid in the past 12 months 5.3 5.6 5.3 9.0
SNAP (Food Stamp) Receipt
Received SNAP in the past 12 months 11.6 10.3 17.0 13.7
Did not receive SNAP in the past 12 months 5.3 6.2 6.7 9.9
2001 2003 2007 2012
Urbanicity
City 10.1
Suburb 11.0
Town 12.5
Rural 10.8
Urban, inside urbanized area 6.7 6.4 10.9
Urban, outside urbanized area 6.0 6.7 7.5
Rural, not urban 4.8 7.9 6.3
Region
Northeast 9.1 8.0 7.2 10.0
Midwest 6.4 7.4 7.7 12.1
South 5.1 6.4 10.1 11.6
West 5.1 5.8 7.1 9.2
Neighborhood Poverty (of those under 18)
Less than 5 percent 6.7 7.4 8.7 10.0
5 to 9 percent 5.3 7.1 9.1 11.0
10 to 19 percent 5.5 4.7 6.1 13.4
20 percent and more 8.0 6.6 8.8 5.9
Type of School
Public 6.7 7.3 9.4 11.8
Private (not church-related) 7.9 5.9
Private (church-related) 1.7 2.4
Home schooled 5.2
Grade level
K through 1 5.9 5.9 8.5 9.5
2 through 3 6.3 7.7 8.2 12.3
1Hispanics may be any race.

Source: Child Trends’ original
analyses of National Household Education Survey data.


Appendix 2 – Among Children with Special Needs1, Percentage of Children in Grades K through 3 Receiving Services through an Individualized Education Program: Selected Years, 2003-2012

2003 2007 2012
Total 28.0 32.9 54.0
Gender
Male 32.4 41.5 52.8
Female 21.0 17.2 56.3
Race/Ethnicity
Non-Hispanic white 28.8 28.7 54.8
Non-Hispanic black 27.1 53.8 51.4
Hispanic2 25.6 33.6 54.3
Asian or Pacific Islander 24.4 62.7
Other 29.8 50.4
Parental Education
Less than a high school degree 22.1 57.4
High school degree/equivalent 27.0 36.7 62.9
Some college/ vocational degree 29.4 33.0 54.1
Bachelor’s degree or more 28.9 30.4 47.2
Immigrant Status
Native-born with native-born parents 28.8 30.8 53.4
Native-born with a foreign-born parent 23.0 26.3 56.9
Foreign-born 19.3 50.5
2003 2007 2012
Primary Language Spoken in the Home
Both parents’ main language is English 28.9 33.4 53.3
One parent’s main language is not English 35.1
Neither parent’s main language is English 13.1 28.2 63.6
Poverty level
Household income at or below poverty line 29.7 41.4 58.1
Household income above poverty line 27.5 28.8 52.3
WIC benefits
Received WIC benefits in the past 12 months 27.3 22.4 49.5
Did not receive WIC benefits in the past 12 months 28.1 34.6 54.7
TANF benefits
Received TANF benefits in the past 12 months 42.5 52.4
Did not receive TANF benefits in the past 12 months 26.3 30.2 54.1
Medicaid Receipt
Received Medicaid in the past 12 months 34.1 41.4 57.5
Did not receive Medicaid in the past 12 months 25.7 26.5 52.0
SNAP (Food Stamp) Receipt
Received SNAP in the past 12 months 31.2 40.7 51.0
Did not receive SNAP in the past 12 months 27.3 29.9 55.4
2003 2007 2012
Urbanicity
City 50.1
Suburb 55.7
Town 57.3
Rural 54.8
Urban, inside urbanized area 28.2 41.9
Urban, outside urbanized area 27.7 29.8
Rural, not urban 27.4 25.2
Region
Northeast 29.5 33.7 55.6
Midwest 31.7 29.7 54.0
South 25.5 34.1 52.6
West 26.5 32.9 55.6
Neighborhood Poverty (of those under 18)
Less than 5 percent 32.5 34.0 55.4
5 to 9 percent 27.6 35.2 51.5
10 to 19 percent 19.8 23.8 59.6
20 percent and more 23.5 41.0 36.8
Type of School
Public 29.4 35.2 56.8
Private (not church-related) 22.9
Private (church-related) 12.9
Home schooled 28.8
Grade level
K through 1 28.6 35.9 52.1
2 through 3 27.5 30.2 55.8
1Special needs include those children whose parents were
told the child had any of the following disabilities: a specific learning disability,
mental retardation, a speech or language delay, a serious emotional
disturbance, deafness or another hearing impairment, blindness or another
visual impairment, another health impairment lasting 6 months or more,
autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), or Pervasive Development
Disorder.2Hispanics may be any race.Source: Child Trends’ original analyses of National
Household Education Survey data.

 

Endnotes


[i] Children with special needs include those whose parents were told the child had any of the following disabilities: a specific learning disability, mental retardation, a speech or language delay, a serious emotional disturbance, deafness or another hearing impairment, blindness or another visual impairment, another health impairment lasting 6 months or more, orthopedic impairments, autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), or Pervasive Development Disorder. In 2012, parents were also asked about developmental delay and traumatic brain injury.


[1]U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special
Education and Rehabilitative Services. (2000). A guide to the Individualized
Education Program. Available at: http://www.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html

[2]Test, D. W., Mason, C., Hughes, C., et al. (2004).
Student involvement in individualized education program meetings. Exceptional
Children, 70
(4), 391-412.

[3]Zhang, C., and Bennett, T.
(2003).Facilitating the meaningful participation of culturally and
linguistically diverse families in the IFSP and IEP process.
Focus on Autism &
Other Developmental Disabilities
, 18(1).

[4]Takanishi, R. (2004). Leveling the playing
field: Supporting immigrant children from birth to eight. The Future
of Children, 14
. Available at http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/Vol_14_No2_no_photos.pdf

[5]
Sopko, K. (2003). The IEP: A synthesis of current
literature since 1997.
Prepared for Project FORUM, National Association of
State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE): Alexandria, VA.

[6]Test, D. W., Mason, C., Hughes, C., et al. (2004).
Op. cit.

[7]Mason, C. Y.,
McGahee-Kovac, M., Johnson, L. (2004).How to help students lead their IEP meetings.
Teaching Exceptional Children, 36 (3), 18-24.

[8]Child Trends’ original analyses of data from the
National Household Education Survey.

[9]Hispanics may be any race.

[10]Duquette, C., and Fullarton, S. (2009). With an LD
you’re always mediocre and expect to be mediocre:Perceptions of adults recently diagnosed with learning
disabilities. Exceptionality Education International, 19(1),
51-71.

[11]Silverstein, M., Guppy, N., Young, R., Augustyn, M.
(2009). Receipt of special education services following elementary grade
retention. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. 163(6),
547-553.

 

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2015). Individualized Education Programs. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=individualized-education-plans

 

Last updated: October 2015

 

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