Statistics released Wednesday by the state Department of Education show that more than 85,000 kids are in special education programs -- 13.3 percent of the overall student population. That's an increase of 735 students from last year and nearly 3,500 since 2008-09.
The state provided the figures in a report to the federal government to show how it is complying with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A child is eligible for special education if parents and professionals determine the child has a disability.
Autism remains one of the fastest-growing disabilities, increasing from 317 students with the diagnosis in 1990-91 to 2,650 students in 2000-01 and to almost 9,000 this school year.
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