The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act helps to ensure that all children with disabilities may receive a public education that adequately fits their special educational needs. The word "disability" has a nuanced meaning within the educational context. Sometimes parents and children alike do not consider certain conditions to be disabilities, even though these conditions may entitle children to special education services under the law.
There are 13 distinct categories of disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. If your child's condition falls under one of these categories, he or she may be entitled to various rights and protections under IDEA.
The 13 categories of disability governed by IDEA are:
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Speech or language impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Emotional disturbance
- Intellectual disability
- Orthopedic impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Other health impairment
It should be noted that some IDEA categories are very specific while others remain purposefully vague. Children struggle with a myriad of conditions which may impact their learning needs. As a result, it is important to speak with your physician and with an attorney experienced in special education law if you believe that your child's medical condition is impacting his or her learning experience.
The main criteria which makes a child eligible for special education services under IDEA is that his or her medical condition is leading his or her educational performance to be adversely affected. If your child has a medical condition that is impacting his or her ability to learn and to adequately perform in school, please reach out for help. The law may protect your child's interests under his or her unique circumstances.