After the evaluation, the PPT team will meet to determine the eligibility of the child for special education and related services. Parents have the right to participate fully in this important meeting. The following definitions describe the areas of special needs/disabilities through which a child may qualify for special education services under IDEA. The results and conclusions of the child’s evaluation will be compared with these definitions. If the results indicate that the child’s condition meets the definition of one or more of the specific “eligibility categories” and that the child, due to that condition requires special education and related services, the PPT will determine that the child is eligible for those services and will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) of services that are appropriate for the child.

School personnel are prohibited from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall) to attend school, receive an evaluation or receive special education services.

Definitions of eligibility categories for special education services:


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.


Co-existing 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 who are deaf or children who are blind.

Developmental Delay

A child (ages 3-6) who is experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional or adaptive development, and who needs special education and related services.

Emotional Disturbance

A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, which adversely affects educational performance:
a) an inability to learn, which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
b) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
d) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
e) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Hearing Impairment

A measurable hearing impairment which, with or without amplification, impairs linguistic processing and adversely affects educational performance.

Intellectual Disability

Significant below-average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.


How to Be an Effective Advocate for Your Child

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