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3. Over 1 million students with IEPs miss three or more weeks of school a year, which can affect academic achievement—and increase the risk of dropping out.

Nearly 1 in 5 students (19%) with IEPs miss three or more weeks of school each year, compared to about 1 in 8 students (13%) without IEPs. Altogether, chronically absent students missed about 98 million school days in 2013–2014.13

There are many reasons why some children miss several weeks of school each year. These reasons include illness, unstable housing and transportation problems. For students with learning and attention issues, the reasons may also include academic struggles, bullying and disengagement with school.

When struggling students develop an aversion to school, they may seek relief by staying home. These absences can be an early sign to parents and teachers that a child may have unidentified learning and attention issues.

Some parents may allow students to stay home occasionally. A day or two each month may not seem significant to families, but the cumulative effect can have a major impact on academic achievement.