Sunday, May 19, 2024


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce


The Growing Number of Special Education Students in America

special needs child

Public school teachers in Los Angeles, California went on strike last month to demand better conditions for students in their schools. Not only were teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District asking for a pay increase but also demanded smaller class sizes, more counselors, more librarians and a full-time nurse in every school.1

Such stories are becoming all too common in the media, particularly with respect to the impact on public school systems of the need for special education teachers and classes to serve the growing numbers of children in the U.S. with learning disabilities, developmental delays, and other special needs. News headlines such as Special education enrollment in California is up. No one can say exactly why” and “Minnesota schools facing crisis level in special education funding” and “Special education funding should be Legislature’s top priority” are reflective of the crisis that public schools are facing in America.2 3 4

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of students’ ages 3-21 requiring services through the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) as a result of their complex special education requirements.5

From the school year 1990-91 to  2004-2005, the number of students aged 3-21 who received special education services was 4.7 million (11 percent of the total public school enrollment).5 By 2015-16, the number of students of the same age group receiving special education services increased to 6.7 million (13 percent of the total public school enrollment).6 7 Among those, 34 percent had specific learning disabilities, of which 20 percent had speech or language impairments and 14 percent had other health impairments that impacted their ability to learn in a traditional classroom.

In addition to special education needs, the number of children with chronic health conditions has increased from 12.8 percent in 1994 to 26.6 percent in 2006.5 This increase of children and adolescents requiring extra support resources due to autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyper activity disorder, food allergies, asthma, juvenile diabetes, etc., has placed an enormous economic staffing burden on public schools.

Special Education Teachers Face Challenges

At the beginning of this year, 81 percent of Los Angeles teachers voted for a contract to end their strike; however, there is still concern expressed by one group of teachers—the special education teachers. One of the major concerns with this group of teachers is the class size, which they believe is too large and remained unchanged during the negotiations.8

The Los Angeles Unified School District serves approximately 73,000 special education students making it the district with the highest special education population in the United States. The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $20,689 on each special education student in 2018, which is $8,000 more per student in comparison to general education students. However, special education teachers maintain that extra funding does not solve the problem if the class sizes for special education students remains too large to effectively meet the needs of students.8

Amber Schwindler is a special education teacher for a class of children with autism at Germaine Street Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. She was interviewed by the publication LAist and talked about the challenges of her job as a special education teacher. Schwindler displayed a laminated math worksheet using velcro numbers for the equation 2+0=? She said it might look like a simple equation but it is not that simple for the students with autism.8

Schwindler stated, “It’s also a lot of occupational therapy. Because to un-velcro and to velcro the pieces is hard for some of our kids—to scan, find the right number is hard. When I say we’re doing addition, we’re doing addition, and OT, and speech, and everything—all at one time.”8

She added, “Every kid has an individualized need. For example, there is 17 steps in order to tie your shoe. First, you have to put your sock on, then you put your shoe on, then you have to loosen it… and people don’t think of this task analysis all the time.”8

Schwindler’s frustration is that, while a class of ten special education students does not seem big, it can become unmanageable very quickly.8

An Uncertain Future for Children

The United States faces a serious threat to its future economic success due to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and disabilities among children and the need for more special education classrooms and teachers in this country but health officials do not appear interested in finding out no one is asking why this is occurring. Studies have revealed that one child in six in America is learning disabled and one child in 40 develops autism.9 10

If children are disabled or chronically unhealthy in the early years of life, they are unable to learn effectively at school, therefore making it unlikely for them to be productive in the labor force as adults.

The number of vaccinations that pediatricians in the U.S. are directed to give to children has tripled in the last 35 years.11 In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that physicians give children up to 23 doses of seven vaccines between the ages of two months and six years old.11 The CDC now recommends that children receive 50 doses of 14 vaccines starting on the day of birth and by the age of six.12

Coinciding with the significant increase in the number of vaccines a child receives in the first six years of life is a simultaneous increase in chronic neurological and autoimmune disorders and to other poor health conditions in children.13

Most discussion around the impact of chronic diseases and disabilities among children and their special education needs has not fully addressed future economic implications. It is crucial for public health officials to focus efforts on understanding the root cause of why so many children in the U.S. are chronically ill and disabled.


1 Nadworny E, Wamsley L, Paris F. Los Angeles Teachers Strike For Smaller Classes, More Nurses And Librarians. NPR Jan. 13, 2019.
2 Finch II M. Special education enrollment in California is up. No one can say exactly why.
3 Golden E. Minnesota schools facing crisis level in special education funding. Star Tribune Jan. 19, 2019.
4 Campanario G. Special education funding should be Legislature’s top priority. The Seattle Times Jan. 25, 2019.
5 Marino S. Part 1: The Special Ed Epidemic: What is Happening to Our Children? Oct. 23, 2017.
National Center for Education Statistics. Children and Youth with Disabilities. April 2018.
7 Salem T. Special Education Students On the Rise. U.S. News & World Report June 6, 2018.
8 Dugdale EE. LA’s Special Education Teachers Are Speaking Out About Contract Shortcomings. LAist Jan. 31, 2019.
Boyle CA, Boulet S et al. Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children 1997-2000. Pediatrics May 23, 2011.
Jenco M. Study 1 in 40 children diagnosed with autism. AAP News Nov. 26, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended schedule for active immunization of normal infants and children 1983.
CDC. Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for Ages 18 or Younger, United States, 2019. Feb. 5, 2019.
13 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Revolution for Truth. NVIC Newsletter Apr. 19, 2017.

16 Responses

  1. Teacher should also be concern about the environment hazard in the currents schools. The district is promoting WI-FI and the usage of wireless devices which is proven is damaging the genetics of children and teachers. 10 countries in this planet are taking in account and banning this technologies where are kids. USA is not recognizing the damaging effect of this technology. Lots of people will be sick if the people don’t get inform to request wired technology and the return to pen and papers which connect kids to their kinetic learning. We need to wake up to understand the epi-genetic effect of new technologies in the human body

  2. I am distraught over this issue. I have been an teacher, mentor and counselor of children since the 1970s, and I have seen a definite change in their health and well being. I am fearful that we are subjecting our children to toxins that are causing inflammation of their brains and neurological pathways, and over stimulating their immune systems, causing more autoimmune diseases. We need to pause and conduct more research about the safety of vaccines. Some children are being injured and killed by vaccines. That is alarming!

  3. I am trying to look at the citation sources but can’t get them to come up. I have tried hovering over them, right clicking and left clicking. Any suggestions so that I can check out the sources? I am especially interested in # 5. Thank you for this good article.

    1. right at the bottom of the article, before the comments, click on “References:” and it will open the list of references which contain the links.

  4. Ultrasound contributes to autism by destroying blood-brain barrier. There is an all-out assault against humanity going on beginning inutero!

    There is a ‘special needs’ school in Texas that is so full they have no waiting list except for preschool! Upper grades are continually filled with lower grades. The school showers the students (and staff) ALL DAY with fluorescent lights, cell phones, ipads, and WiFi, all known to increase autism symptoms. The staff has good intentions, but are deceived by the cabal that owns the medical schools where they were educated. Otherwise, they would be advocating for vaccine freedom in Texas (join, hard-wired schools, and connecting the children with nature (earthing).

  5. You realize all countries vaccinate… There is something else going on, its not vaccinations. Sure, do the vaccines slower, you don’t have to do more than 1 at a time if you don’t want. They have saved lives..lets have something like polio come back and see how people hate vaccines then. That is where we are headed. Yes there are kids with autism who have not been vaccinated, there was actually a family who had an autistic child and didn’t vaccinate their next kid and that kid also had autism; it’s something you are born with, not a development.

    1. HayA – You are wrong to a large degree. Vaccines have been proven to cause autism. The MMR vaccine was studied by Dr. William Thompson Ph.D at the CDC and his research confirmed that it caused a 314% INCREASE in AUSD among African American children below the age of 3. This information was criminally redacted by the CDC itself but thankfully his testimony has been archived. There have been several other medical doctors claiming similar findings. Polio was already almost extinct by the time the polio vaccine first arrived. The vaccine had nothing to do with it’s demise… virus mutates all the time. The smallpox vaccine actually caused smallpox if you read the history of it. You have been led to believe lies I’m afraid. Of course there are other reasons for brain damage in infants… drugs taken by the mother or toxins in the environment but those pale in comparison to the neurotoxins given to infants in the form of vaccines. Look a the rise in autism… 30 years ago it was 1 in 10000 children, now its 1 in 35 or so. WHY??? The rise corresponds almost directly in proportion to the rise in the number of vaccines given to infants. Vaccines are full of brain damaging neurotoxins like mercury, aluminum, MSG and formaldehyde to name but a few. Please educate yourself.

    2. You are misinformed and definitely uneducated! Even though most countries vaccinate, not ONE country in the world uses the AGGRESSIVE vaccine schedule that is used in the U.S. In fact, Sweden totally removed the toxic(sometimes LETHAL) Hep B vaccine given to U.S. newborns, and Japan moved it up from birth to the 2 y/o schedule. And, by the way, it only takes ONE vaccine to injure or kill a human being, so delaying the shots has little to no value. The Vaccine Court has paid out BILLIONS of dollars for injuries/deaths….and a majority were due to ONE flu vaccine. One other point….the whole reason for The Human Genome Project(Biome Project/Protease Project/BRAIN mapping project)….was for genetic engineering of the human genome/biome, so I’m not at all surprised that an unvaccinated family with gene mutations could have autistic children.

  6. I have been warning parents and others about the dangers of vaccines and what they do to the child’s brain for years. There is no science whatsoever that says injecting mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, phenol, squalene, polysorbate 80, GMO viral proteins, animal DNA from cows and pigs, human DNA from aborted fetal tissue, antibiotics; and a host of other ingredients are either safe singly or in combination, nor effective FOR ANYTHING. Most are proven neurotoxins causing inflammation and destruction of brain and nervous system cells. These are POISONS that have no place inside our bodies. SB277 in California is not only unconstitutional, it is criminal to force ANYONE to get injected with poison in order to obtain an education. They are mandating brain damage just to attend school! VACCINE MANDATES MUST END. Period.

    1. George: I totally agree with all of your comments. Vaccine mandates MUST END…soon! People must be too brain-damaged or too “indoctrinated” by MSM to be able to THINK rationally or logically. Not only have the individual TOXINS(and GE organisms/cell lines) not been properly studied in humans, the SYNERGISTIC effects of multiple toxins being delivered simultaneously by IM injection is a another huge issue. I just had a heated debate with my sister(retired SCIENCE teacher for the public school system) about vaccines. While I calmly presented point after point(based on documented FACTS and medical research), she could only blurt out the “sound bytes” and “fear porn” that she has learned from MSM….”there’s a huge MEASLES epidemic and it’s KILLING children.” “Aluminum is abundant in the earth and not toxic to humans”(a Paul OFF-it comment). “The WHO says that crazy anti-vaxxers like you are dangerous to global health,” etc. etc. Something STRANGE is going on with these people. They only parrot what they’ve been led to parrot. They have LOST the ability to think or do research. It’s not only sad…it’s SCARY!

  7. My husband is a special ed teacher and sadly many parents demand administrators to label their child emotional disability, autistic, whatever) so they can collect government funding. Too many variables and scenarios to relate here but many know how to manipulate the system.

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