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Report: State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5

1in5reportsnapshot189Stigma, low expectations and lack of understanding help explain why students with learning disabilities are more likely to repeat a grade, get suspended, and leave high school without a diploma, according to the report, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5.

Children with dyslexia, ADHD and other kinds of learning and attention issues are as smart as their peers. But without the right support, many fall behind academically and struggle socially. They’re more likely to repeat a grade, get in trouble at school or with the law, drop out and struggle as adults to find work. But this downward spiral can be prevented.

This data-intensive report, last revised in May 2017, provides insights into the challenges facing the 1 in 5 as well as specifics on how to improve outcomes in school, work and the community.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Learning and attention issues are far more common than most people think—1 in 5 children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and ADHD. Some of these children receive specialized instruction or accommodations, but many do not.
  • Learning disabilities is the largest of the 13 disability categories covered under special education law: 39 percent of students receive special education for LD, which covers twice as many students as the second biggest category (speech/language impairments).
  • A third of students with LD have repeated a grade, which increases the risk of dropping out.
  • Seven out of 10 students with LD spend at least 80 percent of their time in general education classrooms. Inclusion is beneficial, but in a nationwide survey many general education teachers said they don’t have the training or the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be suspended as those without disabilities. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of special education disciplinary removals involve students with LD or with other health impairments (OHI), which is the disability category that covers many students with ADHD.
  • The dropout rate for students with LD (18.1 percent) is nearly three times the rate of all students (6.5 percent).
  • More than half (55 percent) of young adults with LD have been involved with the justice system.
  • Low self-esteem and stigma help explain why only 1 in 4 students with LD tell their college they have a disability and why only 1 in 20 young adults with LD receive accommodations in the workplace.

Read the executive summary,  also available as a six-page PDF, or go directly to the following sections:

Understanding Learning and Attention Issues
Identifying Struggling Students
Supporting Academic Success
Social, Emotional and Behavioral Challenges
Transitioning to Life After High School
Recommended Policy Changes
State Snapshots

Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities | The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5, | ©2018 National Center for Learning Disabilities