Eligibility for special education

There are 13 eligibility categories for special education under the federal law.

• Deaf/blindness

• Emotional disturbance

• Hearing impairment

• Mental retardation

• Multiple disabilities

• Orthopedic impairment

• Other health impairment (OHI)

• Specific learning disability

• Speech or language impairment

• Traumatic brain injury

• Visual Impairment

Most children with leukemia tend to fall under the category of OHI. The federal definition of OHI is:

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

1. Chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever and sickle cell anemia and

2. Adversely affects a childs educational performance.

Some school districts use Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as an eligibility category for these children. The federal definition for TBI is:

Traumatic brain injury means 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 childs 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.

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