Teachers and aides everywhere are feeling the strain of the increase in the number of children with disabilities in their classrooms. 13% of all students enrolled in public schools have a disability. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the US today with more than three million individuals on the spectrum. According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prevalence rates have escalated over the past decade with 1 of every 68 children being diagnosed with autism.
Schools and taxpayers are seeing costs increase as well. The cost to educate a student with a disability is on average $8,610 higher than for a student without a disability. In the United States 6.4 million children ages 3-21 were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2011-2012. Federal IDEA funding covers only a small portion of the cost. The lower tenth percentile school districts receive IDEA funding of less than $164/per child while the top tenth percentile receive more than $271/per child.
With student to teacher ratio in elementary schools at 15.9:1 and secondary schools at 16.4:1, teachers are being spread thin. Managing a full classroom is challenging enough, and the increasing numbers of students who need specialized learning plans and require additional assistance puts a strain on teachers’ ability to teach effectively.
A challenge facing US school districts is how to allocate the limited amount of funding to help their teachers be more effective. Technology tools and resources are available that let teachers more easily customize instruction and enable students with disabilities to excel. See.Touch.Learn is a prime example of a solution that lets teachers easily develop and deliver such customized instruction to students with disabilities.