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Low Incidence: Severe Disabilities

Services, Resources, and Information

The National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities (NCSSD)

The NCSSD serves as a resource center for information, training, and technical assistance for families and educators of school children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, visually impaired, or who have severe disabilities. 

Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled

Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled (MSSD) is a statewide public school system serving Missouri children and youth between the ages of 5 and 21 with severe disabilities. A student is referred to MSSD when the local school district is unable to meet his or her educational needs.

Missouri Sheltered Workshops

Missouri Sheltered Workshops are actually small businesses that hire individuals with disabilities. Differing from many other states, Missouri sheltered workshops depend heavily on contracted work and the revenue from that work to maintain operations. Jobs performed at these workshops include packaging (bagging, shrink wrapping, blister packaging, skin packaging, boxing), assembly (simple to complex), marketing and public relations services (collating, stuffing, and sorting mailings), products (pallets, wire spools, first aid kits, poultry watering systems, office products, furniture items, etc.). Services are also provided by workshops including, janitorial work, grounds maintenance, commercial laundry operations, microfilming, to mention a few.

Report: Educational Services Provided to Students with Severe Disabilities

Jamie A. Miller and Lisa K. Norton, LAN Resources, LLC.

November 2006


According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NDCCD), people with severe disabilities are those who traditionally have been labeled as having severe to profound mental retardation. These people require ongoing, extensive support in more than one major life activity in order to participate in integrated community settings and enjoy the quality of life available to people with fewer or no disabilities. They frequently have additional disabilities, including movement difficulties, sensory losses, and behavior problems.

In the past, students with severe and/or multiple disabilities were routinely excluded from public schools. Since the implementation of Public Law 94-142 (the Education of the Handicapped Act, now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA), public schools now serve large numbers of students with severe and/or multiple disabilities. Educational programming is likely to begin as early as infancy. At that time, as well as later on, the primary focus is upon increasing the child’s independence.