We investigated whether and to what extent children who are racial-ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in early intervention and/or early childhood special education (EI/ECSE). We did so by analyzing a large sample of 48-month-olds (N = 7,950) participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative data set of children born in the United States in 2001. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicate that boys (odds ratio [OR] = 1.66), children born at very low birth weight (OR = 3.98) or with congenital anomalies (OR = 2.17), and children engaging in externalizing problem behaviors (1.10) are more likely to be represented in EI/ECSE. Children from low-socioeconomic-status households (OR =.48), those displaying greater numeracy or receptive language knowledge (OR =.96 and .76, respectively), and children being raised in households where a language other than English is primarily spoken (OR =.39) are less likely to be represented in EI/ECSE. Statistical control for these and an extensive set of additional factors related to cognitive and behavioral functioning indicated that 48-month-old children who are Black (OR =.24) or Asian (OR =.32) are disproportionately underrepresented in EI/ECSE in the United States.
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