“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
Understanding special education classifications is the first step to formulating a course of action to improve a child’s education. The following list provides special education classifications along with brief descriptions to aid in that process.
- Autistic Disorder
Usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
- Asperger Syndrome
People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Those with this disorder usually have fewer and milder symptoms than people with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.
Specific Learning Disability
- Dyslexia; impaired ability to understand written language
- Dyscalculia; impaired ability to understand and perform mathematics
- Dysgraphia; difficulty in writing
- Dyspraxia; poor coordination
- Executive Functioning; difficulty with reasoning, task flexibility, processing
- ADHD/ADD Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/Attention Deficit Disorder
Other Health Impairments (OHI)
Other Health Impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness. Heightened sensitivity to environmental stimuli. As a result of the impairment, educational performance is adversely affected.
- Brain Injury
- Chronic or acute medical illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia
- Tourette Syndrome
When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, it is considered a speech disorder. Difficulties pronouncing sounds, articulation, and stuttering are examples of speech disorders.
When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder. A stroke or other traumatic brain injury can result in aphasia or a language disorder.
Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)
When a person’s general intellectual functioning is significantly below average and is concurrent with deficits in adaptive behavior.
Mental disorders including behavior disorders and mental illness:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder (manic-depression)
- Conduct disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Psychotic disorders
These impairments cause developmental delays in a wide range of skill areas. Visually-based learning is adversely impacted.
- Double vision
- Tunnel vision
- Blurry vision
- Macular degeneration
Impairments in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affect educational performance.
- Partial loss of hearing
Severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects educational performance including:
- Congenital anomalies
- Disease related (polio myelitis, bone tuberculosis)
- Other causes (cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures and burns that cause contracture)
Failure to develop potential or latent ability.
Identified because there is a significant gap between their ability and their achievements in school. Often underachievers have no identifiable physical or learning disabilities. Their academic performance is just significantly below what they are capable of doing. There is no typical profile of an underachiever. Some scrape by with passing marks. Others get an A on one exam and flunk another. Some are good students whose grades suddenly drop.
Types and severity:
- in all areas
- in only some areas
- in homework
- the non-compliant
- the working-hard-at-being-different
- the challenging-authority
- the angry/discouraged/frustrated
- the social/nonsocial
- the divergent “outside of the box” thinker
- the complex