The disabilities that make a child eligible for special education are:

Autism is a developmental disability that affects verbal communication. It also affects social interactions and can affect educational performance. Children with Autism often engage in repetitive activities and are resistant to changes in daily routines.

Deaf is defined as an impairment that affects the processing of linguistic information through hearing which affects educational performance.

Deaf-Blindness is defined as simultaneous impairments causing a severe inability to communicate.

Developmental Delay is a delay in physical, cognitive, social or emotional, or behavioral development.

Emotional Disability has one or more characteristics that occur over a long period of time that has an adverse effect on educational performance. Such characteristics may include depression, behaviors or feelings that are inappropriate under normal circumstances, inability to have healthy relationships with other students, and the inability to have successful educational performance that cannot be explained by sensory, health, or intellectual factors.

Hearing Impairment is an impairment that is permanent or that fluctuates that is not included in the definition of deafness.

Intellectual Disability is a disability that results in sub-average functions existing at the same time as adaptive behavior deficits that occur during a child’s development.

Orthopedic Impairment is defined as an impairment that is caused by diseases such as poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, and a congenital anomaly. Other causes are cerebral palsy and amputations.

Other Health Impairment that adversely affects educational performance includes ADHD, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, leukemia, lead poisoning, rheumatic fever, and asthma.

Specific Learning Disability is defined as a disorder in the psychological processes that are involved in understanding and using language. The ability to do the math, listen, think, speak, read, write or spell can be affected.

Speech or Language Impairment, which is a communication disorder, includes language or voice impairment, stuttering, and impaired articulation.

Traumatic Brain Injury is defined as a head injury that results in impairments such as difficulty with language, cognition, attention, memory, reasoning, and abstract thinking. Other impairments include those in the area of judgment, problem-solving, information processing, and sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities.

Visual Impairment includes partial sight and blindness.

Multiple Disabilities are defined as concomitant impairments in the physical, sensory or cognitive areas.

If your child is found eligible for special education services because of having a disability, the services designed to meet the child’s needs are outlined in the child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program). The IEP describes the special education services designed to meet the child’s unique needs.

Janet Lee, the founder of Pathways Educational Consulting, has extensive experience serving as an advocate and navigator for parents of children with special needs in the Montgomery Country, Maryland public school system. Janet Lee prepares parents for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) meetings and assists at these meetings in order to secure accommodations and when necessary, appropriate school placements. She has particular expertise in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans.