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The Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled

The Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled (MSSD) is one of Missouri’s three state operated school districts, serving children and youth from 5 to 21 years old who have severe disabilities.

MSSD’s mission is to “ensure students learn authentic skills in a safe environment to be productive and integrated into their home, community, leisure and work.” (Source)

To that end, MSSD’s curriculum aligns with Missouri’s state standards for English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health/physical education, and fine arts. And teachers use an integrated, trans disciplinary approach in the classroom.

MSSD teachers are fully certified, and usually have at least two aides in their classrooms. In most cases, the adult-to-student ratio is one-to-two. Teachers are also supported by specially trained occupational, physical, and speech therapists and registered nurses who either work for the school full time or travel between schools, depending on the school’s needs.

A Student is referred to MSSD when his or her local school district isn’t able to support his or her specific educational needs. The student’s disabilities must fall into a range from severe to profound, as defined by Missouri’s IDEA classification system.


Unlike resident students at the Missouri School for the Blind, most of MSSD’s students live at home. Because there are 75 MSSD schools across the state, most students can be bussed to and from school each day.

Each of MSSD’s 75 schools falls into one of three regional Areas in Sedalia, St. Louis, and Springfield. At the Area level, those schools have the support of an Area director and an Area administrative office. MSSD’s main administrative office is located in Jefferson City.

Like Missouri’s other state schools, MSSD receives federal and state funding. But even though “MSSD is supported by funds appropriated annually by the Missouri Legislature,” local school districts also provide support. The law requires them to contribute towards the cost of education for each child from their district attending an MSSD school. (Source)

If you’d like to learn more about Missouri’s three state-administered school districts, we recommend the following posts:

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
What are Missouri State Schools?
Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD)
The Missouri School for the Blind (MSB)

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