WDPI has collected prevalence data on the number of children receiving special education services based on the educational determination of autism as the primary area of impairment since 1992. Data was not collected for the area of autism prior to 1992 as this special education identification category did not exist in state or federal special education law until 1992.
Data is summarized in the following table. The prevalence rate is based on the unduplicated child count data for children ages 3-21 divided by the state's total public and private school K-12 enrollment, on the child count date. Use of the term "unduplicated" means that the impairment area of autism is reported by school districts as the primary educational disability.
1992-1993 through 2015-2016 School Years
|School Year||Child Count Date||Number of Children with Autism Receiving Special Education||Percentage of Change||Total Public / Private School Population||Prevalence Rate|
When reviewing this data, consider the following:
- Prior to 1992, children with autism were identified and served under the disabilities which existed at that time — cognitive disabilities (CD), emotional behavioral disabilities (EBD), other health impairment (OHI), specific learning disabilities (SLD), and/or speech language disability (S/L).
- It is not known what other factors may account for the consistently increasing numbers of students with autism over the years, but research in this area continues nationwide.
- WDPI has supported training efforts in the area of autism since 1992. A variety of agencies provide trainings either statewide or in their immediate areas. In cooperation with Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 7 in Green Bay and Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WDPI has provided funding for statewide autism trainings during the school year and the summer. These trainings and others have provided educators with the knowledge and skills to better evaluate and serve students with autism.