SRI Education’s disability and inclusion program is serving millions of students and their families
SRI Education has been a leader in disability education research and technical assistance since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975. We combine our unique understanding of the multiple systems serving students with disabilities and their families with our developmental and pedagogical expertise across disability categories and age ranges to help educators increase learning and accessibility.
SRI Education’s researchers and technical assistance providers help policymakers, program leaders and educators reduce educational barriers and create effective inclusive environments for children, youth and adult learners with disabilities. We do this by evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, conducting longitudinal studies that inform programs and policies, developing accessible technologies and alternative assessments and providing technical assistance.
Our disability and inclusion program for education
Inclusive education is an integral component of schooling in the United States. More than 7 million students in the United States qualify for special education services, and most of those students spend at least part of their school day in general education classrooms. Despite decades of advocacy for disability rights, students with disabilities continue to experience barriers that challenge their ability to thrive in their schools and communities. To overcome these barriers, educators and providers need the knowledge and tools to create inclusive and equitable environments that optimize learning outcomes for their students.
SRI Education’s disability education researchers and technical assistance providers apply their deep content knowledge and methodological expertise to produce relevant and usable findings from rigorous studies, resources that educators can use across disability categories and age ranges, and new and innovative tools such as robotics and augmented reality to increase access to challenging content for students with disabilities.
Recent workmore +
How empowered do multilingual students with disabilities feel to make their own choices?
Students who feel greater self-determination – the attitudes and abilities to act as a causal agent and make independent choices – tend to do better as they transition to life outside of secondary school.
Supporting Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities and Support Needs as They Transition from High School
Researchers from SRI International and the University of Oklahoma are collaborating to create a new assessment tool to help educators ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities (or extensive support needs) leave high school with the skills they need to be successful.
Child Find ACCESS: Advancing Community-Centered, Equity-Focused Child Find Systems & Supports
For the Child Find ACCESS project, SRI Education is implementing a community-based, tailored approach to improving child find systems.
High-quality research and evaluation for strong inclusive disability education
Educators need evidence of the highest standards to make informed decisions about policies and practices that help students with disabilities reach their full potential.
To help partners get the information they need, SRI Education designs and conducts cutting-edge research and rigorous impact evaluations around teaching and learning of students with disabilities. Our descriptive, correlational and experimental studies in special education and disability inclusion focus on the critical areas of universal design for learning; alternative assessment; response to intervention; digital tools for accessibility and learning; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for students with disabilities.
Read about more research and findings from SRI Education on disability inclusion for education
- Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment (SNUDLE) (STEM)
- A Unified Research Agenda for 6-12 Online Learning Environments to Improve STEM Outcomes for Students with LD and Students with ASD
- Montana Continuous Improvement in Literacy Partnership (literacy)
- Impact Evaluation of Response to Intervention Strategies (literacy)
- NSF Co-organized Learning Environment for Middle School Science (CORGI-2)
- NSF Inventing, Designing, and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum (IDEAS)
- IES REL NEI
- Center on Inclusive Software for Learning (CISL)
Large-scale, longitudinal studies in special education
Longitudinal studies of nationally representative samples enable researchers to observe the learning trajectories of students in special education across all disability categories and age ranges.
After IDEA was passed, SRI Education pioneered the special education and disability studies that documented the characteristics, outcomes and services for children and youth with disabilities. Beginning with the first National Longitudinal Transition Study, we have assembled a successful portfolio of longitudinal studies providing our partners with national information about the full range of students receiving services under IDEA. By tracking students’ progress and observing the supports they receive at key points in their learning trajectories, we inform disability education policies and practices that continue to strengthen inclusion in schools.
Learn more about the large-scale impact of SRI Education work for the rights of disability inclusion
- National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2)
- Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS)
- National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS)
- Success Predictors in Postsecondary STEM Education and Employment for Students with Autism
- Mixed-Methods Exploration of Factors Associated with Postsecondary Success for English Language Learners with Disabilities
Technical assistance on systemic improvements
To improve the services provided under IDEA, educators, administrators and policymakers need technical assistance to understand and implement effective practices and systems that meet the needs of students with disabilities and their families.
SRI Education provides universal, targeted and intensive technical assistance to state, regional and local educators, administrators and policymakers based on needs. We help our partners synthesize research on best practices in disability education; develop and select inclusive programs and interventions; build capacity for collecting and using high-quality data; and create, expand and improve data systems.
Find more SRI Education resources on systemic improvements for students with disabilities
- Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy)
- IDEA Data Quality Center
- National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI)
- Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA)
- Model Demonstration Coordination Center (MDCC)
- Center to Improve Programs and Project Performance (CIP-3)
Accessible technology for inclusive special education
Educators need accessible technologies and assessments that provide students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers with multiple means of engagement, representation and expression.
As part of an institute with a long history of technological innovation, SRI Education offers unique opportunities for our partners to explore new approaches to accessibility and universal design for learning. We collaborate with other SRI divisions (computer vision, artificial intelligence, speech and natural language and robotics) to apply our innovative technologies to improve learning outcomes for students with disabilities. We also work with industry leaders to codesign and implement software and tools that support inclusive education for students with disabilities.
Associated publicationsmore +
Programs serving children with disabilities—IDEA as a key component of a state early childhood system
All programs serving young children and their families need to understand IDEA and what it means for families and children with disabilities to access and benefit from all early childhood programs available in their community.
Telepractice for Part C early intervention services: Considerations for effective implementation and Medicaid reimbursement
The purpose of this report is to provide information about the use of telepractice as a delivery method for EI services and the process for Medicaid reimbursement.
College-Based Transition Services’ Impact on Self-Determination for Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Most youth in transition services with labels of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have poorer employment outcomes than their peers with other or without disabilities. One alternative approach to address this challenge provides youth with IDD access to transition services in the context of a college or university campus.
Does Assignment to Special Education Exacerbate Negative Social, Emotional, and Academic Attitudes Among Students with Disabilities?
Prior work largely finds that students with disabilities (SWD) display more negative social, emotional, and academic attitudes than students without disabilities.
Parent expectations, deaf youth expectations, and transition goals as predictors of postsecondary education enrollment
This study used the NLTS2 data set to determine the effects of expectations and transition planning goals on the postsecondary education enrollment of deaf youth.
Findings from a two-year effectiveness trial of the Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment
This cluster randomized control trial examines the effects of the Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment (SNUDLE) on elementary school student science academic achievement and motivation outcomes.
Data Snapshot 1: Preschoolers with Disabilities in Subsidized Child Care in California: 2015-2019
This infographic summarizes key findings on children ages 3 through 5 years with disabilities in subsidized early learning and care in California.
Preschool development grant birth through five (PDG B-5) state profiles
The PDG B-5 state profiles were developed to highlight each state’s and territory’s’ work on the initial and renewal grants to-date, and to show their growth over time.
National Picture of the Self-Determination Characteristics of Secondary School English Learners With Disabilities
Self-determination characteristics of English learners with disabilities differed significantly from those of other students with disabilities, and of English learner students and students who are not English learners in the general population, including their being less likely to act autonomously or report empowerment-related or self-realization-related behaviors.