The number of students in New Jersey schools with disabilities has remained fairly steady for the past 11 years, with 220,253 students being classified by the Department of Education with some form of disability in 2013.
That equals 15.73 percent of the students enrolled. By far the largest cohort includes those with specific learning disabilities -- 73,924 students or 5.28 percent; followed by those with speech-language impairments (43,959 or 3.14 percent); other health impairments (39,487 or 2.82 percent); multiple disabilities (17,721 or 1.27 percent); and autism (16,515 or 1.18 percent).
Children with autism or “other health impairments” have seen the largest jump in classification over the past 11 years. Both of those classifications included less than 1 percent of the student population in 2003. On the other hand, those considered to have specific learning disabilities or emotional disturbance issues have seen a drop in classification.