Thursday, July 7, 2022

2021 Child Count Data on Montana Students with Autism

So if the 2020 Child Count data had a big surprise, the 2021 Child Count data doesn't seem to have any *big* surprises. We may still be seeing some effects of Covid, in that the year-to-year percentage change in the number of students with autism was lower than what is generally was prior to Covid. (Click on a picture to open it in a new window.)

Here is some more data: 

Out of all the students identified under the IDEA, students with autism are about 10% of the total child count. 

Here are graphs of the number of students with autism by school year:

In 2019, the Developmental Delay criteria expanded from students aged 3-5 to students 3-8. So we wondered, did that expansion of the DD criteria to include ages 6-8 have an effect on the number of 6-8 year-old students with autism, who, if they hadn't met the autism criteria before age 6, might have continued in or been identified as having a developmental delay rather than autism? 

Probably not much?  Although the 6-8 year-old DD numbers increased by 82% in three years, the number of students aged 6-8 with autism showed an increase of 3% in the same three years, as the number of IDEA students aged 6-8 increased by 6%. Keep in mind that the age 6-8 autism numbers are fairly small so that a 1% increase or decrease would be only 4 kids. 

The age distribution of students with autism remains essentially the same as in previous years. 2020 2018  2017

Male/Female ratio shows a small change (1% = 20 students.) 

Autism distribution by race remains fairly constant. (We will share additional American Indian data in the future - scroll down here for past data.)