Areas of Eligibility Defined

  • Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and
    nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3,
    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. 


    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.


    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.


    Emotional disturbance is defined as follows:
       (i) The term 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:
          (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or
                 health factors.
          (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with
                peers and teachers.
          (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
          (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
          (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or
                school problems.

    Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or
    fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but that is not
    included under the definition of deafness in this section.


    Intellectual Disability means significantly subaverage general intellectual
    functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and
    manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's
    educational performance.


    Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental
    retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the
    combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be
    accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.
    The term 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 congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some
    member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone
    tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy,
    amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).


    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-
          (i) 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, and
              sickle cell anemia; and
          (ii) Adversely affects a child's educational performance.


    Specific learning disability is defined as follows:
       (i) General. The term means 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 an 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.
       (ii) Disorders not included. The term 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.


    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.


    Traumatic brain injury means 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 a child's 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 to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.


    Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision
    that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance.
    The term includes both partial sight and blindness.


    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(3)(A) and (B); 1401(26))