Publication Date


Document Type



Master of Arts in Education (MA)

MA Concentration

Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorder


Harold Johnson, Pamela A. Redmond


Over the past 10 years, the cost of special education has increased tremendously because of the rising number of U.S. students enrolled in special education programs. Three out of every four students with disabilities spend part or all of their school day in a general education classroom. In turn, nearly every general education classroom across the country includes students with disabilities. Each public school district must determine the best way to conduct these programs and figure out how to pay for them.

The cost of providing special education services has been an increasing concern at all levels of public education. This includes providing services that children with special needs require such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior intervention, physical therapy and adaptive physical education, to name a few. The purpose of education is to prepare each student to become a productive member of our society. In order to achieve this, each community must ensure that every student has full access to knowledge, skills, and information available in public education setting.

This study explored the challenges faced by public schools to educate students with profound autism. Likewise, this study also focused on the cost of education for public schools in sustaining a holistic program as provided by the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) environment.

The study identified the needs of students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities and severe behavior challenges that interfere with learning in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). To gather data on the cost of education in preparation instruments such as the interview and questionnaire, were used.