Disability Definitions

  • Exceptionalities

    Autism is defined as a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction generally evident before age three (3) that adversely affects educational performance.

    Deaf-Blindness is defined as a combination of both hearing and visual impairments causing severe communication and other developmental and educational needs.

    Developmental Delay is defined as a delay that adversely affects daily life and/or educational performance in one or more of the following areas and results in the need for special education and related services. A child may become eligible for this area of disability on his or her third birthday.
    The developmental areas are:

    • Adaptive development
    • Cognitive development
    • Communication development
    • Social and emotional development
    • Physical development

    Emotional Disability is defined as a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
    The characteristics are:

    • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
    • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
    • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
    • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
    • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school

    Hearing Impairment is defined as an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both deaf and hard-of-hearing.

    Intellectual Disability is defined as significantly below average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with significant limitations in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.

    Multiple Disabilities is defined as the combination of impairments such as Intellectual Disability-Blindness or Intellectual Disability-Orthopedic Impairment with causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.

    Orthopedic Impairment is defined as a severe orthopedic impairment that severely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease and impairments from other causes. The impairment must adversely affect educational performance.

    Other Health Impairment is defined as having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome. If a medical diagnosis is presented, the medical diagnosis alone is not enough to justify being identified in the area of other health impairment. The impairment must adversely affect the educational performance of the child.

    Specific Learning Disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

    Speech or Language Impairment is defined as a communication disorder such as articulation, voice, language, or fluency, which adversely affects a child's educational performance.

    Traumatic Brain Injury is defined as an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects educational performance.

    Visual Impairment is defined as a visual impairment that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.