Information on disabilities: Specific learning, dyslexic, dyslexia, health impairments, Autism, autist, Hearing impairment, Intellectual disability, Visual impairment, Deaf and blindness.
New Jersey Department of Education
Office of Special Education Programs
2014 Special Education Data
|DISABILITY CATEGORY||PERCENT||most common|
|Specific learning disability||5.56||1|
|Other health impairment||3.08||2|
|Traumatic brain injury||0.05||8|
|Deaf and blindness||0.01||
“Auditorily impaired” corresponds to “auditorily handicapped” and further corresponds to the Federal eligibility categories of deafness or hearing impairment. “Auditorily impaired” means an inability to hear within normal limits due to physical impairment or dysfunction of auditory mechanisms characterized by (c)1i or ii below. An audiological evaluation by a specialist qualified in the field of audiology and a speech and language evaluation by a certified speech-language specialist are required.
i. “Deafness”–The auditory impairment is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification and the student’s educational performance is adversely affected.
ii. “Hearing impairment”–An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating which adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
2. “Autistic” means a pervasive developmental disability which significantly impacts verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Onset is generally evident before age three. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, unusual responses to sensory experiences and lack of responsiveness to others. The term does not apply if the student’s adverse educational performance is due to emotional disturbance as defined in (c)5 below. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three may be classified as autistic if the criteria in this paragraph are met. An assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and an assessment by a physician trained in neurodevelopmental assessment are required.
3. “Intellectually disabled” means a disability that is characterized by significantly below average general cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior; manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student’s educational performance and is characterized by one of the following:
“Mild intellectual disability” means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior in home, school, and community settings that are mildly below age expectations with respect to all of the following:
(1) The quality and rate of learning;
(2) The use of symbols for the interpretation of information and the solution of problems; and
(3) Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls within a range of two to three standard deviations below the mean.
ii. “Moderate intellectual disability” means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior that is moderately below age expectations with respect to the following:
(1) The ability to use symbols in the solution of problems of low complexity;
(2) The ability to function socially without direct and close supervision in home, school and community settings; and
(3) Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls three standard deviations or more below the mean.
iii. “Severe intellectual disability” means a level of functioning severely below age expectations whereby in a consistent basis the student is incapable of giving evidence of understanding and responding in a positive manner to simple directions expressed in the child’s primary mode of communication and cannot in some manner express basic wants and needs.
4. “Communication impaired” corresponds to “communication handicapped” and means a language disorder in the areas of morphology, syntax, semantics and/or pragmatics/discourse which adversely affects a student’s educational performance and is not due primarily to an auditory impairment. The problem shall be demonstrated through functional assessment of language in other than a testing
situation and performance below 1.5 standard deviations, or the 10th percentile on at least two standardized language tests, where such tests are appropriate, one of which shall be a comprehensive test of both receptive and expressive language. When the area of suspected disability is language, assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and assessment to establish the educational impact are required. The speech-language specialist shall be considered a child study team member.
i. When it is determined that the student meets the eligibility criteria according to the definition in (c)4 above, but requires instruction by a speech-language specialist only, the student shall be classified as eligible for speech-language services.
ii. When the area of suspected disability is a disorder of articulation, voice or fluency, the student shall be evaluated according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.4(g) and, if eligible, classified as eligible for speech-language services according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.6(a).
5. “Emotionally disturbed” 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 student’s educational performance due to:
i. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors;
ii. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
iii. Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances;
iv. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
v. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
6. “Multiply disabled” corresponds to “multiply handicapped” and “multiple disabilities,” and means the presence of two or more disabling conditions, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a program designed solely to address one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities includes cognitively impaired-blindness, cognitively impaired-orthopedic impairment, etc. The existence of two disabling conditions alone shall not serve as a basis for a classification of multiply disabled. Eligibility for speech-language services as defined in this section shall not be one of the disabling conditions for classification based on the definition of “multiply disabled.” Multiply disabled does not include deaf-blindness.
7. “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 students with deafness or students with blindness.
8. “Orthopedically impaired” corresponds to “orthopedically handicapped” and means a disability characterized by a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes malformation, malfunction or loss of bones, muscle or tissue. A medical assessment documenting the orthopedic condition is required.
9. “Other health impaired” corresponds to “chronically ill” and means a disability characterized by having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness with respect to the educational environment, due to chronic or acute health problems, such as attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia,
diabetes or any other medical condition, such as Tourette Syndrome, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. A medical assessment documenting the health problem is required.
10. “Preschool child with a disability” corresponds to preschool handicapped and means a child between the ages of three and five who either:
i. Is experiencing developmental delay, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the areas in (c)10i(1) through (5) below, and requires special education and related services. When utilizing a standardized assessment or criterion-referenced measure to determine eligibility, a developmental delay shall mean a 33 percent delay in one developmental area, or a 25 percent delay in two or more developmental areas.
(1) Physical, including gross motor, fine motor and sensory (vision and hearing);
(4) Social and emotional; and
(5) Adaptive; or
ii. Has an identified disabling condition, including vision or hearing, that adversely affects learning or development and who requires special education and related services.
11. “Social maladjustment” means a consistent inability to conform to the standards for behavior established by the school. Such behavior is seriously disruptive to the education of the student or other students and is not due to emotional disturbance as defined in (c)5 above.
12. “Specific learning disability” corresponds to “perceptually impaired” and means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or 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, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
i. A specific learning disability can be determined when a severe discrepancy is found between the student’s current achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the following areas:
(1) Basic reading skills;
(2) Reading comprehension;
(3) Oral expression;
(4) Listening comprehension;
(5) Mathematical calculation;
(6) Mathematical problem solving;
(7) Written expression; and
(8) Reading fluency.
ii. A specific learning disability may also be determined by utilizing a response to scientifically based interventions methodology as described in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.4(h)6.
iii. The term severe discrepancy does not apply to students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, general cognitive deficits, emotional disturbance or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
iv. The district shall, if it utilizes the severe discrepancy methodology, adopt procedures that utilize a statistical formula and criteria for determining severe discrepancy. Evaluation shall include assessment of current academic achievement and intellectual ability.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
13. “Traumatic brain injury” corresponds to “neurologically impaired” and means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or insult to the brain, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psycho social impairment, or both. 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; psycho social behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech.
14. “Visually impaired” corresponds to “visually handicapped” and means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. An assessment by a specialist qualified to determine visual disability is required. Students with visual impairments shall be reported to the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
ld info learning disability
ED Emotional disturbance
deaf Hearing impairment
visual impairment Parent Resources
Supreme Court FAPE Mandate
States must provide children with disabilities educational benefits that are meaningful in light of the child’s potential and the IDEA’s stated purposes. Merely aiming for non-trivial progress is not sufficient,” the solicitor general indicated.
FAPE must be “tailored to the unique needs of the handicapped child by means of an individualized educational program (IEP)”, thereby emphasizing the critical principle of individuality.
School Committee of Town of Burlington, Mass. v. Department of Educ. of Mass., 471 U.S. 359 (1985). The Court established, for the first time, the right of parents to be reimbursed for their expenditures for private special education. This decision (together with the Court’s decision in Florence v. Carter, discussed above) generally stands for the proposition that a school district may be required to reimburse parents for tuition and other expenses related to a private school placement when (1) the IEP and placement offered by the school district were inadequate or inappropriate (in other words, where the school district failed to offer FAPE) (2) the parents’ private placement was appropriate for their child’s needs, and (3) the balance of the equities favors reimbursement. The Court also explained that in an IDEA dispute, a court has broad authority to fashion appropriate relief considering equitable factors, which will effectuate the purposes underlying the Act, and that the IDEA provides “procedural safeguards to insure the full participation of the parents and proper resolution of substantive disagreements.”
LRE– Least restrictive environment; requirement to educate special needs children with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent possible.
The IEP must include “a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability.
The term SMART IEPs describes IEPs that are specific, measurable, use action
words, are realistic and relevant, and time-limited.
A Use Action Words
R Realistic and relevant
AYP -Adequate Yearly Progress.
A student must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as defined by the students IEP. The goals have to be written so they are Measurable and achievable and how being Measurable.
FAPE -Free appropriate public education
Free appropriate public education or FAPE means special education and related services that—
(a) Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
(b) Meet the standards of the SEA, including the requirements of this part;
(c) Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
(d) Are provided in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP) that meets the requirements of §§300.320 through 300.324.
IDEA is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, our nation’s special education law. IDEA was first passed in 1975, where it was called the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act. Every few years, the law has been revised (a process called reauthorization).
The most current version of IDEA is Public Law 108-446, passed in 2004 and called the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.” It’s still most commonly referred to as IDEA, or IDEA 2004 (to distinguish it from other reauthorizations). Final regulations for IDEA 2004 were published in 2006.
Definitions of disability terms
Accommodations. Changes in how test is administered that do not substantially alter what the test measures; includes changes in presentation format, response format, test setting or test timing. Appropriate accommodations are made to level the playing field, i.e., to provide equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge.
Achievement test. Test that measures competency in a particular area of knowledge or skill; measures mastery or acquisition of skills.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Legislation enacted to prohibit discrimination based on disability.
.Assessment. Systematic method of obtaining information from tests or other sources; procedures used to determine child’s eligibility, identify the child’s strengths and needs, and services child needs to meet these needs.
Assistive technology device. Equipment used to maintain or improve the capabilities of a child with a disability.
Autism. Developmental disability that affects communication and social interaction, adversely affects educational performance, is generally evident before age 3. Children with autism often engage in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resist environmental change or change in daily routines, and have unusual responses to sensory experiences.
(1)(i) Autism 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. 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.
(ii) Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
(iii) A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section are satisfied.
Child find. Requirement that states ensure that all children with disabilities are identified, located and evaluated, and determine which children are receiving special education and related services.
Consent. Requirement that the parent be fully informed of all information that relates to any action that school wants to take about the child, that parent understands that consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time.
Cumulative file. General file maintained by the school; parent has right to inspect the file and have copies of any information contained in it. Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM). A method to measure student progress in academic areas including math, reading, writing, and spelling. The child is tested briefly (1 to 5 minutes) each week. Scores are recorded on a graph and compared to the expected performance on the content for that year. The graph allows the teacher and parents to see quickly how the child’s performance compares to expectations. Disability. In Section 504 and ADA, defined as impairment that substantially affects one or more major life activities; an individual who has a record of having such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
Early intervention (EI). Special education and related services provided to children under age of 3.
ESY. Extended school year services.
FAPE. Free appropriate public education; special education and related services provided in an IEP.
FBA. Functional behavior assessment. IDEA. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
IEE. Independent educational evaluation.
IEP. Individualized Educational Plan.
IFSP. Individualized Family Service Plan.
ITP. Individual Transition Plan LRE. Least restrictive environment; requirement to educate special needs children with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent possible.
Modifications. Substantial changes in what the student is expected to demonstrate; includes changes in instructional level, content, and performance criteria, may include changes in test form or format; includes alternate assessments.
Public Law (P.L.) 94-142. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act; enacted into law in 1975
Reasonable accommodation. Adoption of a facility or program that can be accomplished without undue administrative or financial burden.
Recreation. Related service; includes therapeutic recreation services, recreation programs, and leisure education.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Civil rights statute designed to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination; purposes are to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, inclusion and integration into society.
Rehabilitation counseling services. Related service; includes career development, preparation for employment, vocational rehabilitation services funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Related services. Services that are necessary for child to benefit from special education; includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, early identification and assessment, counseling, rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, school health services, social work services, parent counseling and training.
Section 504. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination due to disability by recipients of federal financial assistance.
Special education. Specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.
Specific learning disability—(i) General. Specific learning disability means 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 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.
(ii) Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of intellectual disability**, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Standardized test. Norm-referenced test that compares child’s performance with the performance of a large group of similar children (usually children who are the same age).
.Supplementary aids and services. Means aids, services, and supports that are provided in regular education classes that enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.