Eligibility for Special Education Services

    Students receiving special education services must meet specific eligibility criteria as defined by the federal law and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in one or more of the following areas:
    Auditory Impairment
    A student with an auditory impairment is one who has been determined to meet the criteria for deafness or for hearing impairment. This must be determined by an otologist and audiologist. A serious hearing loss, even after corrective medical treatment or with the use of amplification adversely affects a child's educational performance.
    Autism means 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. Students with pervasive developmental disorders are included under this category. This determination must be made by a multidisciplinary team that includes a speech and language pathologist, a psychologist, an educational diagnostician and an occupational therapist.
    A student who is deaf/blind has a combination of severe hearing and vision losses after best correction, and is determined to meet the criteria for both auditory and visual impairments. The hearing and vision losses are so severe that they adversely affect the child's educational performance.
    Emotional Disturbance
    Students meeting eligibility as emotional disturbance have a condition that is medically and/or psychologically determined to be of such a serious nature that they may not be adequately or safely educated in the general classroom without the provision of special services.
    Learning Disability
    A student with a learning disability is one who, based on evaluation information, has such a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability that he or she must be provided special services in order to progress in the educational environment.
    Intellectual Disability
    Intellectual disability means significantly below 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.
    Multiple Disabilities
    Students with multiple disabilities are students who have a combination of impairments, including a condition which is expected to continue indefinitely; a disability which requires comprehensive instruction and related services for the severely impaired; disabilities which severely impair performance in psycho-motor skills, self care skills, communication, social and emotional development, and cognition.
    Orthopedic Impairment
    Students with an orthopedic impairment are students who present with physical impairments that may cause difficulties performing tasks adequately in the general education setting. Students may need special services in order to progress in the educational environment. Eligibility must be determined by a licensed physician.
    Other Health Impairment
    Other Health Impairment 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. A student's eligibility for Other Health Impairment must include a determination by a licensed physician.
    Speech and/or Language Impairment
    A speech or language impairment is a communication disorder that adversely affects a child's educational performance to the degree that an educational need for speech therapy services exists.
    Traumatic Brain Injury
    Traumatic Brain Injury means that a student has been determined by a licensed physician to have an 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.
    Visual Impairment
    A visual impairment, including blindness, means an impairment in vision, that even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance to the degree that the child is in need of special services.
    Non-Categorical Early Childhood
    A student between the ages of 3-5 who is evaluated as having mental retardation, emotional disturbance, a specific learning disability, or autism, may be described as non-categorical early childhood.
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