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HomeLearning DifficultiesLearning Disabilities & ADHDIdentifying a Learning Disability

National Center for Learning Disablities

LD Fast Facts

These surprising statistics provide a snapshot of how learning disabilities impact kids nationwide.

To understand the impact learning disabilities have on children and young adults in the United States, it' s helpful to look at some key statistics. This fact sheet provides a current snapshot of those figures.

  • Nearly 2.9 million students are currently receiving special education services for learning disabilities in the U.S. (Source: 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2002)
  • 50% of students receiving special education services through the public schools are identified as having learning disabilities. (Source: 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2002)
  • The majority of all individuals with learning disabilities have difficulties in the area of reading. (Source: President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education, 2002)
  • Two-thirds of secondary students with learning disabilities are reading three or more grade levels behind.Twenty percent are reading five or more grade levels behind. (Source: The Achievements of Youth with Disabilities During Secondary School, National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, 2003)
  • 44% of parents who noticed their child exhibiting signs of difficulty with learning waited a year or more before acknowledging their child might have a serious problem. (Source: Roper Starch Poll: Measuring Progress in Public and Parental Understanding of Learning Disabilities, 2000)
  • More than 27% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school, compared to 11% of the general student population. (Source: 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2002)
  • Two-thirds of high school graduates with learning disabilities were rated "not qualified" to enter a four-year college, compared to 37% of non-disabled graduates. (Source: Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Preparation, Participation, and Outcomes, NCES, 1999)
  • Only 13% of students with learning disabilities (compared to 53% of students in general population) have attended a 4-year post-secondary school program within two years of leaving high school. (Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study, 1994)
  • There is no causal link between learning disabilities and substance abuse, however the risk factors for adolescent substance abuse are very similar to the behavioral effects of LD, such as reduced self-esteem and academic difficulty. (Source: National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1999)
  • 46% of all students with disabilities enrolled at post-secondary education institutions reported having learning disabilities (LD). In public 2-year institutions, 38% of all students with disabilities have LD. At public 4-year institutions, 51% of students with disabilities have LD. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 1999)
  • Since 1992, the percentage of students with learning disabilities who spend more than 80% of their instructional time in general educationhas more than doubled, from 21% to 45%. (Source: 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2002)

References

Reprinted with permission from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. All rights reserved.


Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/22/2009:
"Want some additional information, answers to questions, or support? Please consider joining and posting them at the 'Learning and Attention Difficulties' group found here at GS to receive to receive practical suggestions from parents who have faced similar challenges: http://community.greatschools.org/groups/11554"
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