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Disability Categories & Supports


All Ohio school districts are required to provide a free appropriate public education [FAPE] for children with disabilities in accordance to the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Education Act and the Operating Standards for Ohio Schools Serving Children with Disabilities.

There are thirteen categories of eligibility:

Autism
A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3 that adversely affects a child'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 routines and unusual responses to sensory experiences.  The term does not apply if a child's education performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance.  A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the requirements of the first two sentences of this definition are satisfied. 
Deaf-Blindness
Hearing and visual impairments occurring together. The combination causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that the child with deaf-blindness cannot be accommodated in special education programs designed only for children with deafness or only for children with blindness.
Deafness
A hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is unable to process language through hearing, with or without amplification, and the child's education performance is affected.
Emotional Disturbance
A condition showing one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a degree that it affects a child's emotional performance, resulting in:
  • an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
  • an inability to build or maintain satisfactory relationships with peers and teachers;
  • inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
  • a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
  • a tendency to develop to develop physical or school problems.

The term includes schizophrenia.  The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have a serious emotional disturbance.

Hearing Impairment
Impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance, but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Intellectual Disability
Significantly below-average general intellectual capacity that exists  along with deficits in adaptive behavior.  It is demonstrated during the child's developmental period and negatively affects a child's educational performance.
Multiple Disabilities
Impairments that occur simultaneously (such as intellectual disability-blindness and intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.  The term does not include deaf-blindness. 
Orthopedic Impairment
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), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis) and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation and fractures or burns that cause contractures). 
Other Health Impairment
Having 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 or sickle cell anemia and Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Specific Learning Disability
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect 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 into include children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor abilities, of cognitive disability, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
Speech or Language Impairment
A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury
An injury to the brain caused by external physical force or by other medical conditions, including but not limited to stroke, anoxia, infectious disease, aneurysm, brain tumors and neurological insults resulting from medical or surgical treatments.  The injury results 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, as well as to other medical conditions that result in acquired brain injuries.  The result 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 apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual Impairment Including Blindness

Impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance.  The term includes both partial sight and blindness.  Visual impairment for any child means:

  • A visual impairment, not primarily perceptual in nature, resulting in a measured visual acuity of 20/70 or poorer in the better eye with correction; or
  • A physical eye condition that affects visual functioning to the extent that special education placement, materials and/or services are required in an educational setting. 
State Support Team 3
Essex Place
6393 Oak Tree Blvd, Independence, Ohio 44131
P:(216) 524-3000  |  F:(216) 446-3829    
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