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This page is a part of our special on the economics of disability. You can listen to the podcast here, check out a full transcript of the episode and read this glossary of terms we used in our coverage throughout the show.


The number of people with disabilities in mainstream classrooms has more than doubled in the past 30 years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At the same time, school budgets haven't been able to keep up with students' needs, either because of budget cuts or funding tied to property taxes, which vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. The lack of money for special education can create issues for students, like Elijah Armstrong, who are seeking accommodations. Armstrong has epilepsy and during his junior year of high school, he began to have seizures that he says were triggered by flickering lights in his AP calculus classroom. Before long that led to trips to the hospital, failed classes and a lawsuit.

Marketplace Weekend host Lizzie O'Leary spoke with Armstrong about his saga — and the financial toll that suing your own school can bring.

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview. 

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Follow Lizzie O'Leary at @lizzieohreally