Oregon special education numbers top 86,000

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The number of Oregon students in special education increased by less than 1 percent from a year ago.

State figures released Wednesday show 86,015 students in special education programs. They constitute 13.3 percent of the overall student population, a rate unchanged in recent years.

The growth in the number of children in special education because they were diagnosed with autism has slowed. After years of annual increases of 3 percent or more, the number rose by only 1.5 percent.

The federal government requires that all children with disabilities receive a free public education and special services to meet their needs.

A child is eligible if parents and professionals determine the child has a disability. Students with special needs cost more to educate than those without.