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Areas of Disability
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Policies and Procedures
Parent Rights Handbook (English)
Parent Rights Handbook (Spanish)

What is Autism? 

Autism, sometimes called autism spectrum disorder, 
(i) means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, 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. 
(ii) Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disability, as described in paragraph (b)(5) of this section. 
(iii) A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in paragraph (i) of this section are satisfied. 

What is deaf-blindness?

Deaf-blindness means hearing and visual impairments that occur together, 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. 

What is deafness? 

Deafness means 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 the child’s educational performance. 

What is developmental delay? 

Developmental delay means a child aged three through seven whose development and/or behavior is delayed or atypical, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development or adaptive development, and who, by reason of the delay, needs special education and related services. 

What is emotional disability? 

Serious emotional disability (hereafter referred to as emotional disability) 
(i) means 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 make educational progress that cannot be explained by 
intellectual, sensory or health factors. 

What is hearing impairment? 

Hearing impairment means 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. 

What is intellectual disability? 

Intellectual disability means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that adversely affects a child’s educational performance existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period. 

What is multiple disabilities? 

Multiple disabilities means two or more disabilities occurring together (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-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. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness. 

What is an orthopedic impairment? 

Orthopedic impairment means a severe physical impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, 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, etc.). 

What does other health impairment mean? 

Other health impairment means 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-- 
(i) 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, sickle cell anemia and Tourette’s Syndrome, etc.; and 
(ii) Adversely affects a child's educational performance. 

What is Specific Learning Disability? 

Specific learning disability. 
(i) General. Means 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 the impaired 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. 
(ii) Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of serious emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage. 

What does speech or language impairment mean? 

Speech or language impairment means- 
(i) A communication disorder, such as an impairment in fluency, articulation, language or voice/resonance, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. 
(ii) Language may include function of language (pragmatic), the content of language (semantic), and the form of language (phonologic, morphologic and syntactic systems). 
(iii) A speech or language impairment may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities. 

What is a traumatic brain injury? 

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 child's educational performance. Traumatic brain injury 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. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma. 

What is visual impairment? 

Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. A visual impairment is the result of a diagnosed ocular or cortical pathology. 


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