The percentage of American schoolchildren receiving special education services as a result of an autism diagnosis doubled over 10 years.
New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that 10.51 percent of all students with disabilities ages 6 to 21 in 2018 were identified as having autism. Just a decade earlier, that figure was at 4.97 percent.
The numbers come from a collection of “fast facts” on autism released this month by the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs. It’s based on data collected from each state as mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Across the nation, the percentage of students with disabilities who had autism varied by state, with a high of 15 percent in Minnesota during the 2018-2019 school year. By comparison, only 5 percent of students with disabilities in Montana were on the spectrum at that time.
Meanwhile, more than 4 out of 5 students with autism were male. And, black and Hispanic children were identified as having the developmental disorder less frequently than other kids, according to the Education Department statistics.
Children with autism were less likely than students with other disabilities to spend at least 80 percent of their day in classes alongside typically-developing peers, the federal agency noted.
Of those who left school during the 2017-2018 academic year, the Education Department data shows that 72 percent of students with autism graduated with a regular diploma while 18 percent received a certificate.