Muskogee Public Schools Office of Special Programs
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to provide special education and related services to eligible students. But not every child with learning and/or attention issues qualifies. To be covered, a child’s school performance must be “adversely affected” by one of the 13 conditions below.
1. Specific learning disability (SLD)
The umbrella term “SLD” covers a specific group of learning issues. The conditions in this group affect a child’s ability to read, write, listen, speak, reason or do math.
2. Other health impairment
The umbrella term “other health impairment” covers conditions that limit a child’s strength, energy or alertness.
3. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
ASD is a developmental disability. It covers a wide range of symptoms and skills, but mainly affects a child’s social and communication skills. It can also impact behavior.
4. Emotional disturbance
Children covered under the term “emotional disturbance” can have a number of mental disorders. They may include anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. (Some of these issues may also be covered under “other health impairment.”)
5. Speech or language impairment
The umbrella term “speech or language impairment” covers a number of communication problems. Those include fluency, impaired articulation, language impairment or voice impairment.
6. Visual impairment, including blindness
A child who has vision problems is considered to have a visual impairment. This condition includes both partial sight and blindness. If eyewear can correct a vision problem, then it doesn’t qualify.
Children with a diagnosis of deafness have a severe hearing impairment. They aren’t able to process language through hearing.
8. Hearing impairment
The term “hearing impairment” refers to a hearing loss not covered by the definition of deafness. This type of loss can change or fluctuate over time.
Children with a diagnosis of deaf-blindness have both hearing and visual impairments.
10. Orthopedic impairment
Any impairment to a child’s body.
11. Intellectual disability
Children with this type of disability have below-average intellectual ability. They may also have poor communication, self-care and social skills.
12. Traumatic brain injury
This is a brain injury is caused by an accident or some kind of physical force.
13. Multiple disabilities
A child with multiple disabilities has more than one condition covered by IDEA. Having multiple issues creates educational needs that can’t be met in a program for any one condition.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. This law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, among other entities.
Eligibility Under Section 504
Children with disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services under Section 504. That’s because Section 504’s definition of disability is broader than the IDEA’s definition. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to:
• have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
• have a record of such an impairment; or
• be regarded as having such an impairment.
Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE means providing regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.