How does a child become eligible for special education services under IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) sets forth two criteria for determining whether a child is eligible for special education and related services. First, the child must have a disability. Second, as a result of the disability, the child must need special education and related services.

There are 13 disability categories under IDEA:

  • Autism
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Deafness
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Hearing impairment
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment (which includes ADD/ADHD)
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment (including blindness)