Disability Awareness: Think ABILITY First!
There has always been an interest in human development and individual differences. Nowhere is this fascination with individual differences more real than when applied to those who possess some type of disability. Fortunately in the United States, with the passage of enlightened educational legislation such as Public Law 108-466, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), a concerted effort has been made to recognize not only differences but also to accentuate similarities between individuals with and without disabilities.
The term "disability" is used by the federal government under IDEA to include individuals who have:
Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance. Click here for additional information on autism.
Deaf-Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Deafness is 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. Click here for additional information on deafness.
Hearing Impairment is an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness. Click here for additional information on hearing impairment.
Mental Retardation means significantly subaverage general intellect functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affect a child's educational performance. Click here for additional information on mental retardation.
Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
Orthopedic Impairment is a severe physical impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures.
Other Health Impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, as due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Serious Emotional Disturbance is defined as a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marketed 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; and/or
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not necessarily apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have a serious emotional disturbance. Click here for additional information on emotional disturbance.
Specific Learning Disability is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not apply to children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. Click here for additional information on learning disability.
Speech or Language Impairment is a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury is 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. The term 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. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma. Click here for additional information on traumatic brain injury.
Visual Impairment is an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. Click here for additional information on visual impairment.
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Kim A. Duchane at email@example.com.