School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Meredith Park


IDEA, Disability, Missouri, Content Analysis, Descriptive


Accessibility | Disability and Equity in Education | Education


Students with disabilities are significant members of the American population; consequently, provisions for their inclusion in the learning community as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are relevant. The purpose of the study was to track disability trends in due process cases from 2008-2018 in Missouri for students in public schools from grades K-12. The researcher undertook a descriptive content analysis of archived data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Descriptive data collected for each case included the date of the case, the district case number, the age, gender, grade level, disability, and brief comment on the case petition and decision. The research involved charting, with Microsoft Word and Excel, the applicable federally-recognized disability diagnosed for each petitioner along with the demographics and other research elements. The categories of federally-approved disabilities were autism, deaf-blindness, deaf, emotional disturbance, hearing impaired, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech and language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment. Pragmatism was the guiding concept for the trend analysis. Frequency tables and line charts indicated that autism was the fastest growing disability complaint category followed by emotional disability. Other health impairment was third in the number of cases filed followed by the multiple disabilities category. Additionally, parents and guardians filed more complaints on behalf of male students. The complaints originated from issues at the high school level more so than at the middle or elementary levels.

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