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Areas of Disabilities


A developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction evident before age three (3) that adversely affects educational performance. This includes other pervasive developmental disorders.


A combination of both hearing and visual impairments causing severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.


A delay that adversely affects daily life and/or educational performance in one or more of the following developmental areas and results in the need of special education and related services.

  1. Adaptive development,
  2. Cognitive development,
  3. Communication development,
  4. Social or emotional development, and/or
  5. Physical development.


A condition in which one or more of the following characteristics are exhibited over a long period of time and to a marked degree, adversely affecting educational performance:

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

Emotional disability includes schizophrenia but does not include children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined they have an emotional disability as defined above.


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.


Significantly subaverage 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.


The combination of impairments (such as intellectual disability and blindness or intellectual disability and orthopedic impairment) the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.


Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures). If a medical diagnosis is presented, the medical diagnosis alone is not enough to justify being identified in the area of orthopedic impairment. The impairment must adversely affect the educational performance of the child.


Other Health Impairment means 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 means a disorder in one or more basic psychological process 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, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of intellectual disability, of emotional disability, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.


A communication disorder in the area of articulation, voice, fluency, or language that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

  • Articulation – Errors are primarily characterized by substitutions, distortions, additions, and omissions. Phonological errors are in excess of developmental expectations and non-developmental processes may be noted. Errors are not stimulable. Connected speech may be unintelligible or may be intelligible only to familiar listeners or within known contexts.
  • Voice - The child’s voice is abnormal in vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance and/or duration and is inappropriate for the child's age and gender. Deviance is noticeable and distracting to any listener. The disorder adversely affects communication.
  • Fluency - Abnormally dysfluent speech is observed during conversation and/or structured speaking tasks. Listeners are distracted by the child’s dysfluent speech and distracting concomitant behaviors may be observed. The child may exhibit fear or avoidance of speaking. The child’s ability to communicate is adversely affected by the disorder.
  • Language - Syntactic, morphologic, semantic, and/or pragmatic errors are observed. The child’s ability to comprehend or use spoken language is adversely affected.


An acquired injury to the brain caused by external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.


A visual impairment that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes partial sight and blindness.