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National Center for Special Education Research


A Longitudinal View of the Receptive Vocabulary and Math Achievement of Young Children with Disabilities

The study uses data from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study to describe how children who received preschool special education services perform over time on assessments of receptive vocabulary and math skills. It also describes how their receptive vocabulary and math performance vary over time by primary disability category.

The selected findings include:

  • As a group, growth on measures of receptive vocabulary and math skills of children who received preschool special education services decelerated, or slowed down, as the children got older.
  • At age 3, children with a speech or language impairment had a significantly higher mean on the receptive vocabulary measure than children with a developmental delay, and this gap persisted at age 10.
  • At age 3, the children with a speech or language impairment had significantly higher mean scores on the math skills measure than children with autism or a developmental delay. The gap between scores for children with speech or language impairments and children with a developmental delay persisted at age 10. However, children with autism caught up to children with a speech or language impairment by age 10.

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