In order to qualify for special education under the regulations that implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a child needs to be a child with a disability, meaning that the child has been evaluated as having a qualifying disability, and by reason thereof needs special education. [See 34 C.F.R. § 300.8(a)]
- The child must have a qualifying disability as defined by the IDEA regulations;
- The disability must have an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance; and
- The child must need specially designed instruction in order to access and make progress in the general education curriculum.
The disability categories under the IDEA are listed below:
A determination of Emotional Disturbance requires verification of a disorder by a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or a certified school psychologist.
A determination of Hearing Impairment requires an audiological evaluation by an individual holding a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology, and an evaluation of communication/language proficiency.
The term Intellectual Disability replaces the term mental retardation.
A determination of Orthopedic Impairment requires verification of the physical disability by a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, doctor of podiatric medicine, licensed nurse practitioner, or licensed physician assistant.
Other Health Impairment (OHI)
A determination of Other Health Impairment requires verification of a health impairment by a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, licensed nurse practitioner, licensed physician assistant, or in cases of ADHD a doctoral level certified school psychologist or doctoral level licensed psychologist.
Preschool Severe Delay
Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
Speech or Language Impairment (SLI)
A determination of Speech-Language Impairment requires an evaluation by a certified speech-language pathologist or speech-language technician. For students whose speech impairments appear to be limited to articulation, voice, or fluency problems, the written evaluation may be limited to: an audiometric screening within the past calendar year; a review of academic history and classroom functioning; an assessment of the speech problem by a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist or speech-language technician; or an assessment of the student’s functional communication skills.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A determination of Traumatic Brain Injury requires verification of the injury by a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, licensed nurse practitioner, licensed physician assistant, or a licensed clinical neuropsychologist.
Visual Impairment (VI)
A determination of Visual Impairment requires verification of a visual impairment by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.