Calculating estimated rates of early childhood special education eligibility from a national longitudinal database
Paff, Madison Leigh
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Children with disabilities or developmental delays need intervention services as early as possible. Although previous research has provided prevalence estimates and information about disparities in accessing early intervention services (EI; children from birth to age three years), less research has documented this information for children in the preschool early childhood special education (ECSE) age range (three to five years). Using a nationally representative data set (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Birth Cohort), the current study estimates the prevalence rate of children who should be receiving ECSE services. Similar to previous research that examined the EI age range, this study estimates that 13.22% of children in the United States qualify to receive ECSE services. Comparing this estimate to parent-reported rates of service utilization and Department of Education data, this study shows the underutilization of services persists for this age range. Implications for practice and future directions are discussed.