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Disability Categories

Disability Categories

The federal government, through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), states that a child with a disability means a school age child who has been evaluated, and determined to have one of the following disabilities that adversely affects the child’s educational performance, and who therefore needs special education and related services.

The law also requires public schools to provide services to preschool age students (ages 3-5) with disabilities if they are at least three years of age and not age six, have a disability demonstrated by a documented deficit in one or more areas of development, which has an adverse effect upon normal development and functioning.

A. Preschool Age Children (ages 3-5)

B. School Age (ages 6-21) students with identified disability conditions

  • Autism
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Orthopedically Handicapped
  • Developmentally Handicapped
  • Severe Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Speech Language Impairment

Disability Category Overview:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)-this includes any ASD diagnosis, including Autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and PDD-NOS.

Multiple Disabilities (MD)-this category means the individual have received diagnosis for multiple qualifying conditions.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD)-SLD is a condition that affects a student’s ability to listen, speak, reason, write or do math. Conditions include dyslexia, dyscalculia, nonverbal learning disability and auditory procession disorder.

Other Health Impairment-this refers to any condition that affects a student’s strength, energy, or alertness. Examples include ADHD, epilepsy, asthma, and cardiac conditions.

Emotional Disturbance-a qualifying condition under this category include various mental health issues, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental concerns or issues.

Speech or Language Impairment-this category refers to any condition that affects speech or language. Examples include stuttering, speech sound disorders, apraxia, verbal dyspraxia, and dysarthia.

Visual Impairment (including blindness)-this category includes full or partial blindness. Problems that can be corrected with eyewear do not qualify.

Deafness: under this category requires that a student cannot hear most or all sounds, even with a hearing aide.

Hearing Impairment-this includes hearing loss and any hearing-related condition not considered deafness.

Deaf-blindness: this category includes both severe hearing and vision loss.

Orthopedic Impairment-this includes any condition that affects the functioning of any individual’s body. Qualifying impairments include cerebral palsy, congenital conditions, degenerative diseases, and amputations.

Intellectual Disability-this disability refers to below average intellectually ability. Examples include Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-this is caused by an injury caused by an accident resulting in brain damage.