Special Education/Disability

SRI has been active in special education and disability work since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975. With the design and implementation of the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS), SRI pioneered the special education and disability studies which provided documentation of the characteristics and outcomes of, and services for, children and youth with disabilities.

Following the success of NLTS, SRI developed a portfolio of longitudinal studies to provide national information about the full range of students receiving services under IDEA. This program eventually included SRI's design and implementation of the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS), the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS), and the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS 2).

These longitudinal studies of nationally representative samples allowed for the disaggregation of disabilities. They provided accurate measurements of

  • Classroom practices and child and youth performance through interviews of sample members and/or their parents

  • Administrative records collection

  • School staff and service provider surveys

  • Face-to-face assessments

These studies continue to inform policies and practices that help students with disabilities reach their full potential.

SRI has conducted descriptive, correlational, and experimental special education and disability studies of children and youth in the critical areas of student assessment, behavior, response to intervention, and literacy.

Projects

teacher working with a young student

SRI is working with a consortium of states to design alternate performance tasks that advance how the learning of students with significant cognitive disabilities is assessed.

young girl in wheelchair

SRI's ECO Center provides national leadership on measuring the outcomes of programs serving young children with delays and disabilities.

two young students reading

SRI is evaluating strategies to improve the academic achievement of children with disabilities as they tackle early reading challenges.

girl toddler smiling

Findings from an SRI study of early childhood intervention services alerted the state's legislature to a need for changes.

NEILS logo: a teddy bear holding blocks that spell out NEILS

For the U.S. Department of Education, SRI conducted a national longitudinal study of infants, toddlers, and their families receiving early intervention services.

Press Releases

writing on a math board

A new SRI-led study finds that people with autism spectrum disorders are significantly more likely to choose science majors, if they attend college.

SRI International, a subcontractor to Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., will synthesize research and provide guidelines to improve special education reform efforts for the What Works Clearinghouse. Students with disabilities comprise approximately 12 percent of the U.S. K-12 student population.

SRI In the News

Districts with More Low-Income Families Could Have Higher Special Education Needs

Mary Wagner, principal scientist in SRI's Center for Education and Human Services, is among those interviewed about the connection between special education and poverty.

For People with ASD, Adulthood No Easy Transition

Research colleagues at Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and SRI found that more than half of young people with ASD were unemployed and not attending college in the first two years after leaving high school.

Publications

Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study–2, this study considers the influence of family socioeconomic status on the post–high school outcomes of youth with disabilities.

Findings suggest that students with an ASD had the highest STEM participation rates although their college enrollment rate was the third lowest among 11 disability categories and students in the general population.

Head Start programs are required to set aside at least 10% of program slots for children with disabilities, but the percentage of children with disabilities served varies depending on the criteria used and source of the information.

NEILS was part of a program of longitudinal studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education that were conducted by SRI International. Other studies in the program included the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2).

NEILS was part of a program of longitudinal studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education that were conducted by SRI. This report summarizes family outcomes based on interviews conducted with a primary caregiver around the child’s third birthday.

NEILS was part of a program of longitudinal studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education that were conducted by SRI. This study used the “ingredients” approach or Resource Cost Model (RCM) to analyze early intervention expenditures.