There are 13 disability categories identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In 2004, the re-authorization of IDEA also added an optional 14th category for states to include “Young Child with Developmental Disabilities” for ages 3-5. Each state can categorize or label them somewhat differently, but they must address each category. The federal IDEA disability category terms are listed below.
Autism is a pervasive neuro-developmental disability that affects one in every 59 people in the U.S. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. People with autism may have a difficult time understanding social cues and social behaviors, causing them challenges when engaging with those around them. Autism adversely impacts a child’s educational performance, daily routines, and independent living skills.
4. Developmental Delay
5. Emotional Disturbance
6. Hearing Impairment
7. Intellectual Disability
8. Multiple Disabilities
9. Orthopedic Impairment
10. Other Health Impairment
11. Specific Learning Disability
This is defined as a disorder in which one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, dyscalculia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities; cognitive impairment; emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage. Each state creates the subcategory names of the specific learning disability areas that affect academics. The eligibility requirements for each subcategory are detailed in state compliance standards. This is usually based on response to intervention methods and standardized scores of academic achievement tests. For example, some states have the following subcategories of this broad area: basic reading skill, reading comprehension, reading fluency skills, written expression, mathematics calculation, mathematics problem-solving, listening comprehension and oral expression.
12. Speech or Language Impairment
Some states divide these into two separate categories: speech impairment and language impairment. Other states have this as one overarching category. In general, this refers to a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a receptive or expressive language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Each state has specific eligibility criteria for all the different areas within this broad category.
13. Traumatic Brain Injury
14. Vision Impairment/Blindness
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