Study To Examine Options For Students With Severe Disabilities

Aug 2, 2013

Rep. Ann Coody (R-Lawton) hopes to find a good solution for children with disabilities in her interim study: placement options for students with severe disabilities.

State Rep. Ann Coody (R-Lawton)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Coody said the study was requested because state and federal laws require school districts to provide free public education for special education students. Currently 95,000 individuals, ages 3 to 21, are identified as having some sort of disability.

“A small number of those show self-injurious or self-aggressive behavior toward other children, school, staff members and their parents,” Coody said.

“These students might have autism or an intellectual disability or an emotional disturbance or a bi-polar type disorder identified as other health impairment… Because sometimes the school district cannot meet the students unique behavioral needs they must look for other placement options,” she said.

These “other placement options” are out-of-state because Oklahoma does not have a residential facility. One of the closest facilities is located in Wichita, Kansas but sometimes students are placed even further from Oklahoma, according to Coody.