The 13 categories of exceptionality as defined by IDEA (listed in alphabetical order)
1) 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 educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.
2) Deaf-blindness – a 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.
3) Deafness - a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing; with or without amplification that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
4) Emotional Disturbance - a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
a) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.5) Hearing Impairment - an 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 in this section.
b) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
c) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
d) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
e) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal 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 an emotional disturbance.
6) Mental Retardation -a significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
7) Multiple Disabilities - a 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-blindness.
8) 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, 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 that cause contractures).
9) 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
a) 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;10) 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, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
b) and adversely affects a child's educational performance.
a) Disorders not included: The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of11) 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.
visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of
environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
12) Traumatic Brain Injury - 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 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 to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
13) Visual Impairment including blindness - an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Special education services are provided according to the primary educational needs of the child, not the category of disability.
The types of services available are
(1) learning support, for students who primarily need assistance with the acquisition of academic skills;
(2) life skills support, for students who primarily need assistance with development of skills for independent living;
(3) emotional support, for students who primarily need assistance with social or emotional development;
(4) deaf or hearing impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with deafness;
(5) blind or visually impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with blindness:
(6) physical support, for students who primarily require physical assistance in the learning environment;
(7) autistic support, for students who primarily need assistance in the areas affected by autism spectrum disorders; and
(8) multiple disabilities support, for students who primarily need assistance in multiple areas affected by their disabilities.
Related services are designed to enable the child to participate in or access his or her program of special education. Examples of related services are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing services, audiologist services, counseling, and family training.