Nebraska Department of Education, Rule 51- Regulations and Standards for Special Education Programs – includes 13 primary terms under the main definition of “a child with a disability.” These definitions guide how states define who is eligible for a free appropriate public education under special education law.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Autism, the child must have a developmental disability which significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, is generally evident before the age of three, and adversely affects the child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are: engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance as defined in 92 NAC 51-006.04E. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the other criteria in NAC 51 – 006.04B1 are satisfied.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Deaf-Blindness, the child must have concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes: severe communication needs; and other developmental and educational needs. The severity of these needs is such that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or blindness.
Developmental Delay shall mean either a significant delay as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures in one or more of the following areas and, by reason thereof needs special education and related services: Cognitive development; Physical development; Communicative development; Social or Emotional development; or Adaptive behavior or skills development, or a diagnosed physical or medical condition that has a high probability of resulting in a substantial delay in function in one or more of such areas. Developmental delay must be considered as one possible eligibility category for infants and toddlers birth through age four, and is a discretionary option for school districts to use for children age five through eight. A child remains eligible for services under the category of developmental delay through the school year in which the child reaches age eight.
To qualify for special education services in the category of emotional disturbance, the child must have a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects the child’s educational performance: 1) an inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; 2) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; 3) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; 4) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or 5) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children with social maladjustments, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Hearing Impairment, a child must have an impairment in hearing which is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, or is permanent of fluctuating, and adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Intellectual Disability, the child must demonstrate significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Multiple Impairments, the child must have concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability-visual impairment, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. This classification does not include children with deaf-blindness.
To qualify for services in the category of Orthopedic Impairment, the child must have a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects the child’s educational performance. The category includes children with impairments caused by congenital anomaly, Impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and Impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Other Health Impairment
To qualify for special education services in the category of Other Health Impairment, the child must have limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems which adversely affects the child’s educational performance such as: asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome.
Specific Learning Disability
To qualify for special education services in the category of specific learning disability, the child must have a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The category includes conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The category does not include children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disabilities; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Speech-Language Impairment, the child must have a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment. This disorder must adversely affect the child’s educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury
To qualify for special education services in the category of Traumatic Brain Injury, the child must have an acquired injury to the brain caused by external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance. The category includes open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The category does not include brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual Impairment including Blindness.
To qualify for special education services in the category of Visual Impairment, including blindness, the child must have an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the child’s educational performance. This category includes children who have partial sight or blindness.