Special Needs

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Special Needs in the US

The number of children in each sub-group (intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Down Syndrome) is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Education (DOE), and U.S. Census Bureau.

In order to determine what meets the criteria of a special need, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is used. The IDEA specifies thirteen conditions, including autism and intellectual disabilities, that qualify a student for special education under an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan:

1. Autism
2. Blindness
3. Deafness
4. Emotional Disturbance
5. Hearing Impairment
6. Intellectual Disability
7. Multiple Disabilities
8. Orthopedic Impairment
9. Other Health Impaired
10. Specific Learning Disability
11. Speech or Language Impairment
12. Traumatic Brain Injury
13. Visual Impairment

Using IDEA definitions, any of these thirteen conditions can be considered a special need. In 2017 the number of children age 0-10 in the U.S. with disabilities requiring special education is calculated to be approximately 3,359,615.

SPECIAL NEEDS TOTALS

From 2000-2001, approximately 6,083,000 students (age 3-21) had disabilities requiring special education. That number decreased to 6,054,000 by 2014. That averages to a decrease each year of approximately 2,231 students. Assuming a linear decrease, that gives us a total of 6,047,307 special education students (age 3-21) in 2017.
Assuming the probability of disabilities requiring special education being equally distributed among each age group range by year, the total children age 10 and under with special needs as defined by the IDEA is 3,359,615 ([6,047,307 / 18] x 10).

INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES

In 2017, the number of children with intellectual disabilities (not including Down Syndrome and autism) in age 0-10 is calculated to be approximately 210,598. Intellectual disability is defined by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as "significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior."

From 2000-2001, approximately 624,000 people age 3-21 had an intellectual disability. This number decreased to 425,000 by 2014. That averages to a decrease per year of 15,308 students with intellectual disabilities. Assuming a linear decrease per year, the number of students (age 3-21) with intellectual disabilities in 2017 in the U.S. was 379,096. If we assume the probability of intellectual disability rates distributed equally among each age range by year, the total number of children age 0-10 with intellectual disabilities is approximately 210,598.

DOWN SYNDROME

In 2017 the number of children age 0-10 with Down Syndrome in the U.S. is calculated to be approximately 47,738; the CDC estimates approximately 6,000 babies born in the U.S. every year have Down Syndrome.

Looking at the CDC estimates, in 2008 about 1 out of every 1,200 people (all ages) in the United States had Down Syndrome. With a population in 2008 of 304,093,966, given that 1 in 1200 people had Down Syndrome, the total number of people in the U.S. with Down Syndrome in 2008 was approximately 253,412. Assuming Down Syndrome has an equal probability of occurrence in each age bracket, the number of newborns born with Down Syndrome in 2008 was 3,548.

Assuming an equal rate of growth annually from 2008 to 2017 (from 3,548 to 6,000 births), the average increase per year of babies born with Down Syndrome in the U.S. was 272. Totaling the number of babies born each year in the U.S. with Down Syndrome over a period of ten years, given the increase, the number of children born with Down Syndrome each year breaks down as follows:

2008 : Age group (9 10) : 3548
2009 : Age group (9-8) : 3820.4
2010 : Age group (8-7) : 4092.8
2011 : Age group (7-6) : 4365.2
2012 : Age group (6-5) : 4637.6
2013 : Age group (5-4) : 4910
2014 : Age group (4-3) : 5182.4
2015 : Age group (3-2) : 5454.8
2016 : Age group (2-1) : 5727.2
2017 : Age group (0-1) : 5999.6 (approximately 6,000)

Therefore, the total number of children age 0-10 with Down Syndrome can be calculated at approximately 47,738.

AUTISM

In 2017 the number of children age 0-10 in the U.S. with autism is calculated to be approximately 355,941. The CDC estimated in 2012 that about 1 in 68 children at some point receives a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This average does not account for gender disparity in diagnosis, which for boys is 1 in 42, and for girls is 1 in 189. Studies across North America, Europe, and Asia indicate between 1% and 2% of the population on average as having Autism Spectrum Disorder.

From 2000-2001, 93,000 people age 3-21 in the U.S. were diagnosed as having autism, which increased to 538,000 by 2014. Assuming equal distribution in increase per year of autism diagnoses, that is an increase annually of approximately 34,231 autism diagnoses. Assuming the average increase maintains annually, by the end of 2017 the number of autism diagnoses in children age 3-21 totaled approximately 640,693.

If we assume the probability of having autism is equally distributed among each age group, the number of children age 0-10 with autism is calculated at approximately 355,941.

Conclusion

From 2000-2001, approximately 6,083,000 students (age 3-21) had disabilities requiring special education. That number decreased to 6,054,000 by 2014.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Autism therapy toys - Market Size

No data exists online either as a pre-compiled figure or as a calculation to determine the size of the US autism therapy toys market. I believe that this is because data is only available within industry reports that must be purchased. However, I was able to find that there are an estimated 954,000 children aged 0-11 in the US with autism and that the total US autism treatment market is estimated to be worth $2.23 billion by 2022.

METHODOLOGY

In order to find the US market size for autism therapy toys, I first searched for a pre-compiled figure. To begin with, I looked for industry reports on the autism therapy toy market. After a thorough search, I can conclude that this is not a specifically defined market in its own right, and it is a segment of larger markets. Therefore, my next step was to check through reports on the industries which contain the autism therapy toys market, to locate data here that refers to an exact market size or a percentage of market share this segment holds. I searched through various reports, such as this one on the US autism treatment market, and this one on the US autism treatment program market. However, no useful statistics were available freely online, and purchase of the reports would be necessary to gain access.

I, then, widened my search to check if there was global data available. I looked through global reports, like this one on the global autism spectrum disorder market, and this one on the autism disorder and treatment market. However, in each case purchase of the report was necessary for full data.

Next, I checked through recently published online articles, news stories and academic papers on the subject, however, no pre-compiled figure was available. I believe that this is because it is only available within the industry reports which do not release data unless purchased.

Finally, I searched for a pre-compiled figure from the Autism Society and government sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, again, no useful data was available, nor were there any secondary sources leading to industry partners or players that worked with the CDC or other US government agencies.

So, my next step was to attempt to triangulate this figure. I followed several avenues of investigation in order to attempt this calculation. First, I decided to look for the specific toys that are available in this market, and find their revenues. Added together, these figures would give a rough estimate of the total market size. However, I found that there were two issues with this method that made it impossible to calculate in this way. The first was that some of the toys that are useful to children with autism did not only apply to this demographic. For example, emotional therapy robots are also made to assist people with dementia. The second issue was that some areas of toys, such as phone apps, did not have overall market sizes. In addition, there were too many players in the industry to add up revenues in order to make an informed estimation (for example there are currently hundreds of phone apps targeting children with autism available on the market).

Next, I attempted to calculate the market size by finding the number of children aged 0-10 with autism, and multiplying this by the average annual spend on therapy toys per child. I was able to calculate the number of children, which is explained below, but no data was available on average cost. I looked through articles for pre-compiled figures, and also looked at data on cost breakdowns of looking after a child with autism (eg. here and here), however, once again no figures were available.

USEFUL FINDINGS

While I could not find a direct answer to your question, I was able to gather some information about this topic, which I think will be helpful for your project.

To begin with, I found that the global emotional therapy robots market (which are a type of toy that can provide a therapeutic outlet for children with autism) is expected to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 37.34% during the period of 2017-2021. This suggests that the emotional therapy robots segment of autism therapy toys in the US may also be growing fast.

Next, I found that the US autism treatment market was estimated to be valued at $1.85 billion in 2016. It grew to $1.87 billion in 2017, and is predicted to grow to $2.23 billion by 2022. This market encompasses the autism therapy toys market, and therefore, again these figures suggest that the market is growing.

In terms of how developed the autism therapy toys market is in the US, I found evidence to suggest that the current market is yet to be fully explored. While there are many interesting ideas in the space, with exciting developments in the pipeline, the area is still often overlooked because it is believed that "autistic kids aren’t a big enough market".

Toy sellers see the market for autistic children as tricky. Evidence shows that there is much demand but many obstacles in the way preventing the market from fulfilling its potential. Toy makers are focusing on helping autistic children access current toys they have on the market rather than developing toys with this demographic in mind. For example, Toys 'R' Us in Philadelphia planned an event with Greater Philadelphia Autism Society, where they turned the music off for three hours on a Saturday morning and turned its break room into a quiet zone, so that autistic children felt more comfortable shopping.

In an attempt to calculate the market size, I looked for data on the number of children in the US with autism. I found that there is no data on how many children have autism aged 0-10 years in the US. However, we do know that currently 2% of all children have a diagnosis. I can also confirm that there are no statistics to define the population size of children specifically aged 0-10 years. However, we do know that there are currently 47.7 million children in the US aged 0-11; 2% of this gives us 954,000 children aged 0-11 in the US with autism (47,700,000* 0.02).

CONCLUSION

To sum up, I have found that no data exists online either as a pre-compiled figure or as a calculation to determine the size of the US autism therapy toys market. I believe that this is because data is only available within industry reports that must be purchased. However, I was able to find that there are an estimated 954,000 children aged 0-11 in the US with autism. In addition, I also found that the total US autism treatment market is growing and is estimated to be worth $2.23 billion by 2022. Finally, I found that emotional therapy robots may be a key segment of this industry.
Sources
Sources