So. I’ve been wanting these numbers in this format for a long time now. And no one seemed interested in making it happen. So I decided to do so.
What follows are what those same numbers look like presented a different way. It’s called “data visualization”. Seeing data this way allows us to gain a better understanding of what those numbers tell us. Because this is likely a fairly new subject for most of you, the numbers will speak for themselves for now.
A couple of things you need to know about the numbers…these numbers are of the children in Alabama’s K-12 school districts (135 of them for the 2013-2014 school year) who have been identified with one of the exceptionalities (also called disabilities, though “gifted” is an exceptionality and few consider that a disability) in the list.
In Alabama, two indispensable resources for families of children receiving services through special education are the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) and the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC). In addition, Alabama is home to the nation’s first Community Outreach Special Education Parent Teacher Association (COSEPTA) which works to bring families together to address the needs of and share information helpful to families of children with special needs. In the spirit of full disclosure, my sister, Barbara, is the President and co-founder of the COSEPTA…an organization very close to my heart.
We need to better understand the full range of abilities included under the “special education” headline. The image that comes to mind for many includes a wheelchair or some other visible disability. Most children receiving services in special education have an invisible disability. Take a look for yourself.