ERIC Number: EJ945416
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Reference Count: 34
Which Disability Classifications Are Not Particularly Litigious under the IDEA?
Zirkel, Perry A.
Communique, v40 n2 p4-6 Oct 2011
A previous exploratory analysis revealed that students with autism were notably overrepresented in published court decisions concerning the IDEA's core concepts of "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) and "least restrictive environment" (LRE). More specifically, for the period 1993 to 2006, the proportion of this litigation attributable to the autism classification remained approximately 10 times the proportion of special education enrollments accounted for by the autism classification. This autism-specific analysis raises the converse question--which other IDEA disability classifications provide the counterbalancing underrepresentation? More specifically, if, relative to the percentage of special education enrollments, autism accounts for a disproportionately high segment of the published court decisions concerning FAPE and LRE, then one or more other classifications must account for a disproportionately low level of this litigation. Which of the other, major classifications are on this other, low litigation side? Using the same method as in the previous analysis, this follow-up exploratory analysis shows that the two major contributing classifications for proportion-based underrepresentation--in contrast to the proportion-based overrepresentation of autism--with regard to published FAPE/LRE court decisions are specific learning disability (SLD), and speech or language impairments (SLI). The other major classifications represent either modest underrepresentation (intellectual disabilities) or relative overall balance (emotional disturbance and other health impairment). The results of the initial exploratory analysis for the autism classification and this follow-up exploratory analysis for the other major classifications provide the basis for not only more extensive research but also intensive practical scrutiny. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)
Descriptors: Disabilities, Autism, Classification, Court Litigation, Federal Legislation, Special Education, Learning Disabilities, Speech Impairments, Language Impairments, Mental Retardation, Emotional Disturbances
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act