Qualifying Diagnoses for an IEP

Article
Nov. 11, 2020Updated Nov. 11, 2022

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 CategoryAbbreviationDefinition
1Autism Spectrum DisorderASDA developmental disability and neurological difference that affects 3 domains: Behavior, Communication, Social skills
2DeafnessDChildren who are unable to hear most or all sounds even with a hearing aid
3Deaf-BlindnessDBStudents who have both: Severe hearing loss, Severe vision loss
4Emotional DisturbanceEDA 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
5Hearing ImpairmentHIPartial hearing loss.
6Intellectual DisabilityIDA cognitive disability that signifies below-average intellectual ability across academic and functional domains.
7Multiple DisabilitiesMDA child who meets the criteria for more than 1 of the 13 disability categories.
8Other Health ImpairmentOHIA broad category that covers conditions that limit a child’s strength, energy, or alertness. Examples: ADHD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression
9Orthopedic ImpairmentOIA physical disability that requires special education services and supports in order to make academic progress.
10Specific Learning DisabilitySLDA 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
11Speech or Language ImpairmentSLIA communication disorder that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Examples: Stuttering, Articulation issues, Language impairment, Voice impairment
12Traumatic Brain InjuryTBIA brain injury that results from head trauma that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
13Visual Impairment including BlindnessVIVision issues that cannot be corrected with corrective eyewear.
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