13 Disability Categories

IDEA Disability Categories

To be eligible for special education and related services, a child must be in the age range of birth to 22 years of age and meet the criteria in two areas outlined in federal law: (1) the child must be identified as a child with a disability in one or more of the 13 categories defined below; and (2) the child's disability must adversely affect his or her educational performance. Children ages 0-3 are found eligible under Part C eligibility criteria of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and children ages 3-21 are determined to be eligible under Part B eligibility criteria of IDEA. To determine whether a child is eligible for services, he or she must receive a full and individual initial evaluation.

For children and youth ages 3-21, special education and related services are provided through the public school system. One way to find out about these services is to call your local school district. The school district can provide you with information about special education policies in your area or refer you to a district or county office for this information.

The following are definitions of the 13 disability categories provided under IDEA.