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    DISABILITY TERMS


     

    Autism

     
    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. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the requirements of the first two sentences of this definition are satisfied.
     

    Deaf-blindness

    Hearing and visual impairments occurring together. The combination causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that the child with deaf-blindness cannot be accommodated in special education programs designed only for children with deafness or only for children with blindness.

    Deafness

    A hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is unable to process language through hearing, with or without amplification, and the child’s educational performance is affected.

    Developmental Delay

    A child 3 to 5 years old that an evaluation team of qualified professionals determines is experiencing a delay in one or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development.  The term may be used in place of the following disability categories:  intellectual disability; emotional disturbance; speech or language impairment.

    Emotional Disturbance

    A condition showing one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a degree that it affects a child’s educational performance, resulting in:

    • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
    • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory 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 problems.

    The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have a serious emotional disturbance.

    Hearing Impairment

    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.

    Intellectual Disability

    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

    Impairments that occur simultaneously (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

    Orthopedic Impairment

    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

    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 or sickle cell anemia and Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

    Specific Learning Disability

    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, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor abilities, of cognitive disability, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

    Speech or Language Impairment

    A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

    Traumatic Brain Injury

    An injury to the brain caused by external physical force or by other medical conditions, including but not limited to stroke, anoxia, infectious disease, aneurysm, brain tumors and neurological insults resulting from medical or surgical treatments. The injury results in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries, as well as to other medical conditions that result in acquired brain injuries. The injuries result 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.

    Visual Impairment Including Blindness

    Impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. Visual impairment for any child means:

    • A visual impairment, not primarily perceptual in nature, resulting in a measured visual acuity of 20/70 or poorer in the better eye with correction; or
    • A physical eye condition that affects visual functioning to the extent that special education placement, materials and/or services are required in an educational setting.