A child is eligible for an IEP if they meet the criteria for one of 13 eligibility categories and if they cannot make adequate progress in school without special education services. The 13 categories are explained in detail here by Dr. Caitlin Solone, education advocate, teacher educator, and faculty at UCLA.
 

 

Eligibility Category

Abbreviation

Definition

1

Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASD

A developmental disability and neurological difference that affects 3 domains:

Behavior
Communication
Social skills

2

Deafness

D

Children who are unable to hear most or all sounds even with a hearing aid

3

Deaf-Blindness

DB

Students who have both:

Severe hearing loss
Severe vision loss

4

Emotional Disturbance

ED

A broad category signifying mental health needs. The following may be considered ED or OHI (Other Health Impairment):

Anxiety
Bipolar Disorder
Depression
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Schizophrenia

5

Hearing Impairment

HI

Partial hearing loss.

6

Intellectual Disability

ID

A cognitive disability that signifies below-average intellectual ability across academic and functional domains.

7

Multiple Disabilities

MD

A child who meets the criteria for more than 1 of the 13 disability categories.

8

Other Health Impairment

OHI

A broad category that covers conditions that limit a child’s strength, energy, or alertness.

Examples:

ADHD
Anxiety
Bipolar Disorder
Depression

9

Orthopedic Impairment

OI

A physical disability that requires special education services and supports in order to make academic progress.

10

Specific Learning Disability

SLD

A broad category signifying learning differences that impact a child’s ability to do one or more of the following: read, write, listen, speak, reason, and do math.

The following diagnoses are considered specific learning disabilities:

Dyslexia
Dysgraphia
Dyscalculia
Auditory Processing Disorder

 

11

Speech or Language Impairment

SLI

A communication disorder that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Examples:

Stuttering
Articulation issues
Language impairment
Voice impairment

12

Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI

A brain injury that results from head trauma that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

13

Visual Impairment including Blindness

VI

Vision issues that cannot be corrected with corrective eyewear.

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