Can a student be eligible for special education under more than one eligibility category?

Published: June 16th, 2016

Although a student can meet eligibility requirements in more than one area of disability, it is not the label or category that is important. The important thing is that eligible students receive a free appropriate public education “designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.1(a)] The regulations that implement the IDEA require schools to evaluate students in all suspected areas of disability [34 C.F.R. § 300.304(c)(4)], and each child’s IEPs must contain measurable annual goals designed to “meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.320(a)(2)(i)] As a practical matter, there is nothing in the IDEA that requires students to be classified by their disability so long as each child who has a disability and who needs special education is regarded as a child with a disability under the IDEA. [34 C.F.R. § 300.111(d)]