Disability and inclusion program

SRI Education’s disability and inclusion program is serving millions of students and their families

YouTube player
SRI Education’s disability and inclusion program: Improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

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 work

Read more

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

Our team

Associated publications

Read more