By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – June was a happy month for a lot of high schoolers who received their diplomas, and for others, those who are disabled, who accepted proudly certificates of completion.

There are many different kinds of disabilities that public schools must accommodate – hearing, visual, orthopedic, speech and language impairment among them plus traumatic brain injury, autism and intellectual disabilities as well.

While our on-time graduation rate has risen to an historic high of 80%, for those with impairments there is a 62% completion rate, with those from low income families less likely to make it. Districts have the opportunity to substitute alternative courses, making comparisons difficult as does the higher suspension and expulsion rate for those who are disabled.

Learn more about special education in Education Week, which provides a wealth of important information about those who can stay in school and can “age-out” at 21 with descriptions of some alternative routes and inspiring student vignettes.

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