6. Special Education Overidentification 2011: Girls

We know boys are over-represented in America’s special education departments. 


There is some contributions of biological differences (cerebral dominance), or that is what is supposed.  But the argument doesn’t hold water.  The patterns of disproportionality in special education nationally are so distorted one has to think it is a systems problem only.

A recurring explanation is the majority of teachers and therapists are women.  Compliant girls are favored.  It is pleasant having a nice quiet girl in your room who does everything right.  A quiet hearing-impaired girl might go completely undetected because she is easy to teach.

Perhaps the one reason eccentric Truman Capote became a famous author was that he was accidentally identified as super bright during the field testing of an IQ test.  In today’s schools he would have a problem.  Gifted boys are sometimes put in special education because they don’t fit in.

Few school speech-language pathologists are men. Do SLPs favor girls?


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