TYPES OF DISABILITIES AFFECTING CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD): Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior, and pay attention.
Autism/ Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD): Autism/PDD is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. PDD represents a distinct category of developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics.
Blindness/ Visual Impairment: The terms partially sighted, low vision, legally blind, and totally blind are used in the educational context to describe students with visual impairments.
Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control our ability to use our muscles and bodies.
Deaf-Blindness: It may seem that deaf-blindness refers to a total inability to see or hear. However, in reality deaf-blindness is a condition in which the combination of hearing and visual losses in children cause "such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness" (34 CFR 300.7(c)(2),1999) or multiple disabilities.
Deafness and Hearing Loss: Hearing impairment is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as "an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance." Deafness is defined as "a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification." Thus, deafness may be viewed as a condition that prevents an individual from receiving sound in all or most of its forms. In contrast, a child with a hearing loss can generally respond to auditory stimuli, including speech.
Developmental Delay (DD): Developmental Delay is when your child does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected times. It is an ongoing, major delay in the process of development. Delay can occur in one or many areas—for example, motor, language, social, or thinking skills.
Down Syndrome: Down syndrome is the most common and readily identifiable chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disability. It is caused by a chromosomal abnormality: for some unexplained reason, an accident in cell development results in 47 instead of the usual 46 chromosomes. This extra chromosome changes the orderly development of the body and brain. In most cases, the diagnosis of Down syndrome is made according to results from a chromosome test administered shortly after birth.
Emotional Disturbance: Emotional Disturbance is 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 child's educational performance (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems." [Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Section 300.7(c)(4)(i)]
Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a physical condition that occurs when there is a sudden, brief change in how the brain works. When brain cells are not working properly, a person's consciousness, movement, or actions may be altered for a short time. These physical changes are called epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is therefore sometimes called a seizure disorder. Epilepsy affects people in all nations and of all races.
Intellectual Disability (formerly Mental Retardation): Intellectual Disability is a term used when a person has certain limitations in mental functioning and in skills such as communicating, taking care of him or herself, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child.
Learning Disabilities (LD): Learning Disability is a general term that describes specific kinds of learning problems. A learning disability can cause a person to have trouble learning and using certain skills. The skills most often affected are: reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, and doing math.
Severe and/or Multiple Disabilities: People with severe disabilities are those who traditionally have been labeled as having severe to profound cognitive impairments or mental retardation.
Speech and Language Impairments: Speech and language disorders refer to problems in communication and related areas such as oral-motor function - sucking, swallowing, drinking, eating.
Spina Bifida: Spina Bifida means cleft spine, which is an incomplete closure in the spinal column. In general, the three types of spina bifida (from mild to severe) are: Spina Bifida Occulta, Meningocele and Myelomeningocele. Generally, people use the terms "spina bifida" and "myelomeningocele" interchangeably.
Traumatic Brain Injury: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by the head being hit by something or shaken violently. (The exact definition of TBI, according to special education law, is given below.) This injury can change how the person acts, moves, and thinks. A traumatic brain injury can also change how a student learns and acts in school. The term TBI is used for head injuries that can cause changes in one or more areas, such as: thinking and reasoning, understanding words, remembering things, paying attention, solving problems, thinking abstractly, talking, behaving, walking and other physical activities, seeing and/or hearing, and learning.