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Katy Independent School District

Special Ed Operating Procedures

Disability Categories


What's Required


To assess children in all areas related to the suspected disability, including if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities. For a child to be eligible for services under IDEA, the child must qualify in one or more of the thirteen areas of disability as listed below 34 CFR 300.304(c)(4) and 20 USC 1414(b)(3)(B).


 (1) Autism 300.8(c)(1)(i), 89.1040(c)(1), 1401(3)(A) 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. The characteristics of autism are generally evident before age three, but, could be appear after age three. Characteristics often associated with autism are: 

  • engagement in repetitive activities and stereotypical movements

  • resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines

  • unusual responses to sensory experiences

The child may be considered to be a child with autism if the child has a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal communication, nonverbal communication; and social interaction. Children with pervasive developmental disorders are included under the disability category of autism. The child may not be considered to be a child with autism if the child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance. 

 (2) Deaf-Blindness 300.8(c)(2), 89.1040(c)(2)(A), 1401(3)(A) means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, 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.

(3) Deafness or Auditory Impairment TEC 29.310(c), 300.8(c)(3), 300.8(c)(5), 89.104(c)(3), 1401((3)(A)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 a child's educational performance.

 (4) Emotional Disturbance 300.8(c)(4), 89.1040(c)(4), 1401(3)(A) 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:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Note: The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
(5) Intellectual Disability 300.8(c)(5), 89.1040(c)(6), 1401(3)(A) means significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

(6) Multiple Disabilities 300.8(c)(7), 89.104(c)(6)(A), 1401(3)(A) means concomitant impairments (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 do not include deaf-blindness.

(7) Orthopedic Impairment 300.8(c)(8), 89.1040(c)(7), 1401(3)(A) means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by 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).

(8) Other Health Impairment 300.8(c)(9), 89.1040(c)(8), 1401(3)(A) 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 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, and sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome and adversely affects a child's educational performance.

(9) Specific Learning Disability 300.309(a)(1), 89.1040(c)(9)(B)(ii) means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological process involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect 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.

Note: Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, intellectual disability,  emotional disturbance, environmental, cultural factors, or environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency on the child's achievement level.

(10) Speech or Language Impairment 300.8(c)(11), 89.1040(c)(10), 1401(3)(A) means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

(11) Traumatic Brain Injury 300.8(c)(12), 89.1040(c)(11), 1401(3)(A) 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.

Note: Traumatic Brain Injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

(12) Visual Impairment (including blindness 300.8(c)(13), 89.1040(c)(12), 1401(3)(A) means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

(13) Non categorical 89.1040(c)(13) refers to a student between the ages of three through five who is evaluated as having an intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, or autism impairments may be eligible for services as non categorical early childhood (NCEC).

Note: If a student is a child with a disability, who is determined by an ARD/IEP Committee to meet eligibility criteria for one or more disabilities but has no need for special education and related services, he/she is not considered disabled under IDEA 2004. Eligibility for services under Section 504 may be considered in these cases.

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