Disability Categories

Autism (AUT)

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, which adversely affects educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism include, 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 does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance. A child who manifests characteristics of autism after age three, that child could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in the above paragraph are satisfied. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(1)).

Deafness (DEAF)/Hearing impairment (HI)

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through learning, with or without amplification, which adversely affects educational performance. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(3) Hearing Impairment is a federal category of disability, which includes both hard of hearing and deaf individuals as defined above.

Deaf-blindness (DB)

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. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(2)).

Emotional disturbance (ED)

Emotional Disturbance 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 educational performance: (A) An inability to learn which 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 feeling under normal circumstances; (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term (ED) includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(4)).

Established medical disability (EMD)

A disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome that the individualized education program (IEP) team determines has a high predictability of requiring special education and services. (CA Ed Code, Section 56441.11(d)) (Note: This eligibility category is only applicable for children ages 3-5).

Hard of hearing (HH)

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

Intellectual Disability (ID)

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. (34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Sec. 300.8(c)(6)).

Multiple disabilities (MD)

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-blind children. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(7)).

Orthopedic impairment (OI)

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 which cause contractures). (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(b)(6 Sec. 300.8(c)(8)).

Other health impairment (OHI)

Other Health Impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes, which adversely affects a child's educational performance. (34 CFR Part 300.8 (c) (9)).

Specific learning disability (SLD)

Specific Learning Disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or 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 such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(10)).

Speech or language impairment (SLI)

Speech or Language Impairment means a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(11)).

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

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, which adversely affects educational performance. The term applies to both 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 include brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, nor brain injuries induced by birth trauma. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(12)).

Visual impairment (VI)

Visually Impaired, including blindness means impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partially seeing and blind children. (34 CFR Sec. 300.8(c)(13)).