Disability categories

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the United States, the law defines 13 disability categories that qualify students for special education services. The 13 disability categories identified by IDEA are:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): This category includes students with pervasive developmental disorders that affect social interaction, communication, and behavior.

  2. Deafness: Students who have a hearing impairment or are deaf and require special education and related services.

  3. Deaf-Blindness: Students who have both hearing and visual impairments, leading to severe communication and educational needs.

  4. Emotional Disturbance: Students with emotional or behavioral disorders that significantly impact their educational performance.

  5. Hearing Impairment: Students with a hearing loss, but not deafness, that affects their educational progress.

  6. Intellectual Disability: Students with significantly below-average intellectual functioning and limitations in adaptive behaviors.

  7. Multiple Disabilities: Students with more than one disability, where the combination of impairments causes severe educational needs.

  8. Orthopedic Impairment: Students with physical impairments, such as congenital anomalies, diseases, or impairments due to accidents.

  9. Other Health Impairment: Students with health conditions, such as ADHD, epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, or chronic illnesses, that adversely affect educational performance.

  10. Specific Learning Disability: Students with specific difficulties in reading, writing, math, or other academic areas, despite having average or above-average intelligence.

  11. Speech or Language Impairment: Students with communication disorders that affect their ability to understand, express, or use spoken or written language effectively.

  12. Traumatic Brain Injury: Students with acquired brain injuries caused by an external force, resulting in impairments in cognitive, physical, emotional, or sensory functions.

  13. Visual Impairment, Including Blindness: Students with visual impairments, including blindness, that impact their educational progress.

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