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Disability Categories

Categories of Disability under IDEA, National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

Autism

Jessica Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Autism

A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects the student'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 routine, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance.

Communication Disorder

Refer to Speech-Language Impairment listed below.

Deafblindness

Crystal Thomas
Specialist – crystal [dot] thomas [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combinations of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Developmental Delay

Betsy Sutherland
Specialist – betsy [dot] sutherland[at]schools[dot]utah[dot]gov(E-mail)

This category includes those age 3 through 7. A significant delay or deficit in one or more of the following areas:

  • Adaptive development (DD)
  • Cognitive development
  • Communication development
  • Emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Social development

Jessica Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman[at]schools[dot]utah[dot]gov(E-mail)

All developmental delay that:

  • Is manifested before the age of 22
  • Is chronic and severe
  • Can be contributed to mental or physical impairment or both
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in major life activities
  • Required lifelong need for special services that are individually planned and coordinated

Emotional Disturbance

Carol Anderson
Specialist – carol [dot] anderson [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

A student whose behavior or emotional condition over a long period of time and to a marked degree adversely affects his/her educational performance. "Emotional disturbance" is used as a generic term to cover two types of behavior difficulties which are not mutually exclusive but which adversely affect educational performance:

  • Externalizing refer to behavior that are directed outwardly towards the social environment and usually involves behavioral excesses
  • Internalizing refers to a class of behavior problems that are directed inwardly and often involves behavior deficits. (ED)

Hearing Impairment/Deafness

Crystal Thomas
Specialist – crystal [dot] thomas [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Deafness is a hearing impairment so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a student's educational performance. A hearing impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating, which adversely affects a student's educational performance, but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

Intellectual Disability

Jessica Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

A student who demonstrates sub-average intellectual functioning concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior. These deficits usually emerge during the student's developmental period. Students with intellectual disabilities are those individuals who exhibit cognitive and adaptive behavior deficits that are likely to be life-long disabilities which can interfere with independent living. (ID)

Multiple Disabilities

Jessical Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Concomitant impairments (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 special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deafblindness. (MD)

Orthopedic Impairment

Jessica Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairment 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). (OI)

Other Health Impaired

Kim Fratto
Specialist – kim [dot] fratto[at]schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Jessica Bowman
Specialist – jessica [dot] bowman [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

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, and sickle cell anemia, that adversely affects a student's educational performance. (OHI)

Specific Learning Disability

Kim Fratto
Specialist – kim [dot] fratto[at]schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Specific Learning Disability Guidelines (SLD)

A disorder in one of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an impaired 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 students who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage, or lack of appropriate instruction. (LD)

Speech-Language Impairment (formerly Communication Disorders)

Crystal Thomas
Specialist – crystal [dot] thomas [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Speech impairments means a communications disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, which adversely affects a student's educational performance. (CD)

Traumatic Brain Injury

Susan Loving
Specialist – susan [dot] loving [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

Traumatic Brain Injury

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 impairment 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 function; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injury-induced birth trauma. (TBI)

Visual Impairment

Crystal Thomas
Specialist – crystal [dot] thomas [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov(E-mail)

An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.(VI)