Proportion of LD placements associated with low socioeconomic status: Evidence for a gradient?

Clancy Blair, Keith G. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article was to estimate the proportion of learning disabilities placements associated with variables that can be considered markers for low socioeconomic status. A linked birth record/school record data set for the state of Florida (n = 159, 129) was utilized to examine the occurrence of learning disabilities placements among a single cohort of children with varying levels of risk at birth. Children whose birth records indicated maternal education of less than 12 years, mother unmarried at birth, prenatal care initiation after the first trimester of pregnancy, or low birthweight were at increased risk for a learning disabilities placement by the age of 12 to 14 years. Children with any one of these factors were between 1.2 and 3.4 times more likely to have a learning disability placement by age 12 to 14 years than were children without any of these factors. Analyses indicated that the rate of learning disability placement among children from low-SES backgrounds is greater than would be expected given the rate of placement among children not experiencing low SES. The proportion of placements attributable to the increased risk associated with low SES indicators on the birth certificate was 30% among boys and 39% among girls. The finding of greater-than-expected rates of learning disabilities placement among children facing risks associated with low SES suggests that alternative approaches to prevention may be needed to reduce some proportion of placements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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