An increasing number of children diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and other so-called hidden disabilities, or conditions that are hard to evaluate or observe, are taking a toll on school districts' special-education resources. Federal law mandates public schools to provide children with special needs a "free appropriate public education," but educators find it hard to assess the needs of some children with hidden disabilities, said Sharon S. Bennett, director of special education at the Kennett Consolidated School District in Pennsylvania.

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