Underestimated to Unbreaking the Silence: The Spellers Guidebook Debuts From Skyhorse
Safeminds Highlights Study on Autism Throughout Midlife and Beyond

Shocking Special Ed Numbers Most Ignore

Abadnonned schoolNote: Schools are running on fumes. Teacher shortages. Classrooms of kids unable to learn traditionally. Behaviors escalating. Do we solve ANY problems, ever?

By Anne Dachel

Here in America we seem to be just fine with ever-increasing numbers of disabled children. There are lots of stories in the news about new autism therapy centers opening across the country.

We champion neurodiversity, celebrate autism awareness and we want to be sensory-friendly.

Most of all, numbers never bother us.

We’re told all the time about MORE special needs children, and we never ask where they’re all coming from. That would not be caring.

Officially 15 percent of students in the U.S. have special needs.

I really wonder how they came up with that average since we’re regularly told about much higher numbers.

A story just out from Hampshire Co, WV raises a number of questions.

Nov 10, 2023, The 74: West Virginia Declares Emergency in Hampshire County Schools Special Ed 

The district will be required to address a number of problems, including a lacking graduation rate for students in special education.

The West Virginia Board of Education declared a state of emergency in Hampshire County Schools special education program after nearly three years of shortcomings for vulnerable students.

Hampshire County Schools serve 2,800 students. About 20% of students — or around one out of every five kids — have Individual Education Plans, or IEPs, that require special education services and staffing.

Alexandra Criner, director of the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Accountability, told school board members that the district needed ‘substantial intervention.”

There aren’t specific reasons given for the situation, but things don’t sound good.

Teachers and administrators across the district have expressed the need for help to address ongoing special education issues in eight schools, she noted, adding that one district employee supported 500 students with IEPs.

“Teachers [and] principals felt overwhelmed by the procedural aspect of special education,” Crinersaid….

An October report from the WVDE showed that 14 counties, including Hampshire, needed assistance with their special education.

The special ed numbers in West Virginia aren’t some anomaly. Lots of places are dealing with large percentages of students with special needs.

Nov 2023, My hometown of Chippewa Falls, WI: Need for SpEd Services Rises

The number of students requesting special education services has gone up in the past decade, McMasters said, leaving current special educators to manage an increasing load. In that time, the percentage of students requesting special education services rose from about 13% to 18% of the student population.

“We’re seeing a steady increase, again in 2023, of special education referrals. I would say it’s still mostly at the same rate of increase since I started in 2014, though it did dip slightly during COVID when students were online. But this trend is just this slow increase over the years. And so we’re at a point where we just needed to hire some more staff in order to meet the needs of all the kids,” McMasters said.

Nov 2023, Bridgeport, CT(Kim Rossi lives next door)

Bridgeport Public Schools will need to come up with around $4 million in the next budget to keep more than two dozen special education teachers,…

Though the total number of students has stayed relatively stable in recent years, the amount of high-needs pupils has been on the rise, district data shows. As of this month, 3,669 of the district's more than 19,300 students [19%] are enrolled in special education services, up slightly from last year.

Sept 2023, Milwaukee, WI: 

This cost really adds up – especially at higher poverty school districts, where there tends to be even more students with special needs than in lower poverty districts. Milwaukee Public Schools has 83 percent economically disadvantaged students and 19 percent of all students are classified as having a disability…

July 2023, Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, mandated transition planning must begin “no later than the student’s 14th birthday. These changes are particularly relevant in Massachusetts, where more than 19% of the students across the state, have a disability.

May 2023, Marquette, MI

Special Education students at NICE Community Schools make up nearly 20 percent of its student population.

I have cataloged many more stories with such dire numbers over the past few years:

MAINE public schools: 18 percent SPED

Spokane, WA: 18 percent SPED

Dallastown, PA: 18 percent SPED

PENNSYLVANIA public schools: 18 percent SPED

Del Norte, CA: 18-29 percent SPED

Vernon, NJ: 19 percent SPED

Yonkers, NY: 19 percent SPED

Brooklyn, NY: 19 percent SPED

Reading, PA: 19 percent SPED

Hays, KS 19 percent SPED

Ashland, NE: 20 percent SPED

Lafayette, IN: 20 percent SPED

Mars Hill, ME: 20 percent SPED

Norwin, PA: 20 percent SPED

DELAWARE public schools: 20 percent SPED

Dayton, OH: 20 percent SPED

Oakland, CA: 20 percent SPED

Wahkiakum, WA: 20 percent SPED

Rochester, NY:  20 percent SPED

New Haven, CT: 20 percent SPED

Muncie, IN: More than 20 percent SPED

New Jersey: 20 percent SPED

Fort Wayne, IN: 20 percent SPED

Bemidji, MN: 20 percent SPED

Lewiston, ME: 20 percent SPED

Glen Falls, NY: 21 percent SPED

Racine, WI: 22 percent SPED

Princeton, NJ: 22 percent SPED

Ellsworth, ME: 22 percent SPED

Brainerd, MN: 22 percent SPED

Humboldt Co, CA: 22 percent SPED

Muncie, IN: 22 percent SPED

Racine, WI: 22 percent SPED

Bloomington, IN: 22 percent SPED

The Bronx, NY: 23 percent SPED

Hanover, VA: 23 percent SPED

Waterville, ME: 23 percent SPED

Staten Island, NY: 24 percent SPED

Albuquerque, NM: 23.3 percent SPED

Leominster, MA: 23.4 percent SPED

Fitchburg, MA: 23.5 percent SPED

Rockland, ME: 24 percent SPED

West Canaan, NH: 24 percent SPED

Ridgefield, CT: More than 25 percent SPED

Rumford, ME: More than 25 percent SPED

Springfield, VT: 27 percent SPED

Commercial Township, NJ: 27 percent SPED

Clark County, KY: 30 percent of students SPED

Somehow all this is normal and acceptable. Somehow, despite huge numbers of special needs students in so many places, the national average is still only 15 percent.


Spellers bookThe Spellers Guidebook by Dawnmarie Gavin and Dana Johnson with foreword by J.B. Handley

A means by which thousands, and soon millions, of people are being freed from their lives of silence.

The Spellers Guidebook is the first of its kind—a comprehensive guidebook that every family should take along for their Spelling journey. From the moment you first learn about spelled communication through working with a practitioner, developing fluency, and everything in between, this book serves as a blueprint to follow while you build the skills to spell openly with your child.
The Spellers Guidebook is informative not only for parents and caregivers but for practitioners and professionals as well.


susan welch

Thank you, again, Anne, for reporting on the ever increasing numbers of SPED. It is truly shocking that the PTB see nothing to worry about.

Despite what Bill always says, this problem simply did not exist when I was at school in the 1950s. In fact, it did not exist when my children were at school in the 1970s.

Unless there is a change of policy, i.e. dealing with the root of the problem, it will only get worse.


Thank you Bill; for poking the bear.

You don't write like some one with disabilities.


Here we go again with the vague and very liberal definition of disability and mental illness.
White liberals: We want more votes and a new victimhood class! Let us use those with disabilities for such a new victimhood class and to gain more votes!
White conservatives: What are we going to do with white males committing mass murder and sexual assault? We do not want them compared to Islamist and leftist terrorist! Let us blame mental illness and "autism" and "ADHD" for their atrocities.
I am a person with a rare genetic disorder who is tired of the liberal definition of mental illness and autism and other disabilities in general. It harms me with waitlist for California Regional center services. More disturbingly excuses for bullying and assault committed against me and some friends by persons and their family claiming insanity and incompetence from autism and schizophrenia among others.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)