14 Disability Categories Under IDEA
14 Disability Categories Under IDEA
(formerly known as Mental Retardation) Characterized by significantly below average intellectual functioning.
Incidence Rate: 1.83% of the entire school age population. Low Incidence
Text to Speech tech.
Low to high tech communication devices.
Assistive Listening Systems
Graphic Organizers (low & high tech available)
Giving copies of teacher’s lecture notes to parents
Providing audiotaped lectures or books
Reducing the difficulty of assignments
Using a student/peer tutor
Allowing answers to be given orally or dictated
Teaching spoken and written language for social, educational, and vocational functions, with an emphasis on participation in specific activities identified as problematic for the individual.
Teaching early communication skills (e.g., pointing, turn-taking, joint attention)
Simple, easy to follow class rules
Consistency in discipline and expectations
Be an active participant in the student’s IEP team even if you feel your contribution is limited due to the severity of disability.
is characterized by simultaneous impairments that cause sever learning challenges.
Incidence Rate: 2.2%% of the entire school age population. Low Incidence
Touch screen computers
Visual Assistant software
Online lessons w/ computer aided assistance.
Use of augmentative communication systems.
Specialized learning environment.
Setting of reasonable learning objectives.
A multidisciplinary process to seek best learning environment.
Advocate for student acceptance and social inclusion
Characterized by a long period of academically hindering emotional disturbances that are not due to intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
Incidence Rate: 1% of the entire school age population. Low Incidence
Personalized Behavior charts
Music Players: MP3, etc.
Multi-sensory Integrated Technology Programs (thinkingmoves.com)
Easy access to school counselor and/or a safe location in the classroom for controlled affect relief.
Curriculum modifications for students with academic difficulties
The teaching of expected behaviors.
sound responses to rule violations.
Visual Impairment Including Blindness
Is characterized by an impairment in vision that dispite correction adversely effects academic ability.
Incidence Rate: 12.2 per 1,000; Legal or total blindness: .06 per 1000. Low Incidence.
Optical character reader
Braille notetakers: a device for printing notes in braille.
Screen enlargement software
Safety Concerns: cabinets closed, chairs pushed in, bags under desk, etc.
A classroom that is consistently organized for easy access and movement.
class textbooks and learning resources offered in appropriate medium (i.e. large print, braille, audio).
Encourage independence as much as possible to avoid “learned helplessness.”
Advocate for visual impairment awareness
Offer the assistance of a mobility specialist.
: a hearing loss or fluctuation that impacts a child's ability to learn.
Incidence Rate: 13.6% some hearing impairment and 0.2% sever hearing loss for the entire school age population. Medium to low Incidence
Hamilton Mobile Captel
A frequency modulated (FM) system
Installing classroom amplification systems to improve the
Organize class seating arrangements for optimal hearing
Developing ‘buddy’ systems to provide peer support for
students with hearing loss.
Pre-teaching new words and concepts to facilitate subsequent
Ensuring full Visual Access
Provide testing and referral to specialist.
Advocate for classroom awareness of hearing loss.
Specific Learning Disability
(High Incidence, nearly 1 in 5 children per the center for parent information and resources)
Examples include dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalcula
Voice Recognition Systems
Also known as a LD or learning disability
Give directions both verbally and written
Teach organizational and study skills
Let students use resources and technology in class to make work easier (spell check, voice recordings, instructional materials
Give the student more time to finish homework and tests
(Low Incidence - Less than 10,000 kids under the age of 21 affected per the center for parent information and resources)
Simultaneous hearing and vision impairments
Early intervention services are available for ages under 3
Large print items
Once students are 3 they enter special education services provided by the school district
Braille Sense Plus
Deaf Blind Communicator (DBC)
(Per the CDC, about 1 in 6 children aged 3-17 have one or more developmental disabilities) High Incidence
Includes delays in physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, or adaptive behavior
Assistive Technologies and accommodations for learning
Work with parents to establish routines
Parent and Teacher must both implement at home and at school
Web based games
Blocks and shapes
Building confidence activities
Avoid activities where the student must sit for long periods of time
Sit student in class where there is minimal distraction
Teacher and student read-aloud
Help students formulate discussion
Low incidence in aggregate (1 in 68), but 4 times more likely for boys that girls ("Autism Speaks", 2012)
Autism refers to a range of problems relating to social skills, repetitive behaviors and speech
Clear, predictable schedule without surprises
Allowing students to bring in tools that help them with focusing in a classroom environment, e.g. fidgets
A specific area with less stimuli for decompression
Multiple breaks as needed
Word processing software, including speech-to-text
Visual aids/support for classroom lessons
Touch screens and interactive media
Other Health Impairment
(per ProjectIDEAL, only 2 to 9% of students are affected ) Low Incidence
Determined by limitations in strength, vitality, and alertness.
Most common is AD/HD
Low tech devices such as notebooks and organizers are recommended in helping students stay on task
Activities to strengthen organizational skills
Students will benefit from same technological devices available to other students without the condition
Use of tablets or phones to help organize assignments and schedules
Extra time for Tests and Homework
Clearly laid out schedules for the day and week so student can prepare
Simplify complex activities
Seat student where there are limited distractions
Speech or Language Impairment:
High Incidence, ~1 in 12 U.S. children are diagnosed with some form of SLI. Higher incidence with boys and some evidence of an ethnic component. ("Quick Statistics About Voice, Speech, Language", 2017)
Another broad category that relates to any problem that affects the ability to talk, understand, read or write. ("Speech or Language Impairment Strategies", 2017)
Work with the student to ensure they have ways to convey basic needs (AAC as necessary)
Create a positive environment and praise efforts
Try to reduce classroom noise to let students focus
Allow more time for tests and assignments
Active listening- Have student repeat instructions to ensure they understand
Use both tactile and visual aids during lessons
Allow recorders and provide video lessons if possible
Allow the use of Augmentative or Alternative Communication boards
Low to High incidence, depending on criteria. Children born with congenital hearing loss are ~ 2-3 per 1,000 births, whereas up to 14.9% of children under 18 have some level of hearing loss ("Quick Statistics About Hearing", 2017).
To be classified as an impairment, students must have some level of hearing loss so severe as to impact their ability to gain linguistic processing skills
Seating arrangements so that students can clearly see moving lips and the board
Minimized outside noise sources
Over-emphasize lip movement and speak slowly for lip reading
Provide written materials for lessons and lecture notes
Provide important vocabulary lists as needed/possible
Work with therapists and translators to ensure student understands and is engaged during class
Remote Microphone Hearing Assistance Technology - Direct connection to implants
Include captioning for all video if possible
Recording lectures for live captioning as feasible
Traumatic Brain Injury:
Low Incidence, ~ 180 per 100,000 students below the age of 15 ("Traumatic Brain Injury", 2013)
There are a wide amount of symptoms due to the cause of the injury and the area affected. About 16% are expected not to improve ("Traumatic Brain Injury", 2013).
Allow recording devices/transcribing devices
Include visual aids to accompany directions
Allow/Provide memory devices to help keep track of assignments and needed medication (e.g. smart phones, digital calendars, smart watches)
Create a clear, predictable routine for each day
Be mindful of unique physical needs (e.g. Crutches, wheelchair, etc.)
Try to use clear, direct instructions and avoid abstract examples
Be mindful of student stamina and provide frequent breaks as needed
Extra time for assignments and tests
Low Incidence, ~ 1.1% of school age children receiving special education funding were in this group ("Orthopedic Impairments: General Information", 2017).
A category covering many issues, of which the following three are the most common: Neuromotor Impairments (Damage to brain/spinal cord), Degenerative Diseases (Motor development issues) and Musculoskeletal Disorders (Arthritis, missing limbs) ("Orthopedic Impairments: General Information", 2017).
Seating arrangements to minimize classroom impact and maximize mobility
Environment that meets the specific needs of the disability (e.g. appropriate chairs, tables and supports)
Scheduling arrangements to provide more time for motor skill related education
Frequent breaks as needed based on impairment
Greater communication/collaboration with the required therapists
Movement based devices as needed by the specific disability (e.g. canes, wheelchairs, etc.)
Specialized desks for students to use with their devices
Speech recognition software
Augmentative or Alternative Communication boards if necessary
Software packages if available, applicable and necessary