The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about one in six, or about 15%, of children have one or more developmental disabilities. The CDC recommends parents educate themselves so they can recognize early signs of a developmental disability. Early intervention can have a significant impact on the need for special education in the school years. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C, identifies early intervention as infant through age 2. The state is responsible for providing early intervention programs for infants and toddlers.
IDEA identifies “children with disabilities” as individuals between the ages of three and 22 with one or more of the following conditions:
Hearing impairment (deafness)
Other health impairment
Specific learning disability
Speech or language impairment
Traumatic brain injury
Visual impairment, including blindness
The disability must adversely impact his academic performance. (20 U.S.C. Section 1401(3)) Youth between the ages of three and 22 receive special education services through their local school district if they attend a public institution.
Specific Learning Disability
20 U.S.C. Section 1041(30) identifies children with a specific learning disability as a disorder in 1 or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematic calculations. Such disorders include: perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
Other Health Impairments: ADD and ADHD
Other health impairments include asthma, ADD/ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, cardiac conditions, hemophilia, leukemia, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and nephritis. Of these, ADD and ADHD are probably the most common. ADD and ADHD may make a child eligible under IDEA if the disability adversely impacts his or her academic performance.
If a child does not qualify for an IEP under IDEA then the parents may want to look into 504 plans. I will highlight 504 plans in a later blog.
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