Special Education Process: Step 3-Eligibility

With school starting back up, I have seen an increase in posts on various support group pages from parents who state that their child’s school district did not find their child with X disability to be eligible for special education services. Many times there are several responses such as if your child has a disability they automatically qualify for special education services.  A school district cannot deny your child special education services.  Continue reading

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD



According to a press release  from the U.S. Department of Education’s  Office of Civil Rights (OCR) The guidanceContinue reading

What is the TA&D Network?

TA&D stands for Technical Assistance & Dissemination network. TA&D networks include projects funded by the OSEP. The TA&D website states that “these projects provide information and technical assistance to states, schools, educational professionals and families on topics such as autism, deafness, disproportionate representation, dispute resolution, learning disabilities, parenting children with special needs, positive behavior support and transition.”  Each center has a particular focus or field that they have expertise in.  Click here for a list of TA&D centers.

One TA&D center is NICHCY or National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.  It has been an excellent source of information and training for several years.  NICHCY recently lost its funding and the website will no longer be available after September 30, 2014.  Most of the resources and information on NICHCY will be transitioned to the Center for Parent Information and Resources website.  There will be some products and resources that will not be available on the new website.  If you have not visited NICHCY, I would encourage you to do so and to download any resources that you think will be helpful in advocating for your child.

I will highlight another TA&D Center in my next post.


IDEA Disability Categories and Their Definitions

There are 14 disability categories as defined in IDEA. To qualify for special education services under IDEA a child must be evaluated and have one of these disabilities and need special education and related services.

  1. Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
    1. Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the  child has an emotional disturbance.
    2. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria above are satisfied.
  2. Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
  3. Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  4. Emotional disturbance means 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:
    1. An inability to learn that 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.
    5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
    6. Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia.  This term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
  5. Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included in the definition of deafness.
  6. Intellectual Disability (Changed from Mental Retardation with Rosa’s Law) means significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  7. Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special educational programs solely for one of the impairments.  Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.
  8. 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).
  9. 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
    1. 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’s syndrome; and
    2. Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  10. Specific learning disability
    1. General.  Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the 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.
    2. Disorders not included.  Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
  11. Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  12. Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical forces, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed brain 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.  Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
  13. Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with corrections, adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
  14. Developmental Delay.  Children aged three through nine experiencing developmental delays.  Child with a disability for children aged three through nine (or any subset of that age range, including ages three through five), may, subject to the conditions described in 34 CFR §300.111(b), include a child-
    1.  Who is experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and
    2. Who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.