In order to qualify for special education, a child must meet two eligibility requirements. The requirements are:
1. He or she must have a disabling condition. The conditions that fall in this category are:
- hearing impairments
- Speech or language impairments
- Visual impairments
- multiple disabilities such as intellectually disabled
- orthopedic impairments caused by congenital anomalies
- orthopedic impairments by disease
- orthopedic impairments caused by cerebral palsy
- learning disabilities
- emotional disturbance
- traumatic brain injury
- other health impairments such as epilepsy, ADHD, heart conditions, etc
2. A condition must have an adverse effect on your child's education. In other words, it is not enough to show on paper that your child as a disability, you must show that your child's disability is causing enough problems to where they need to be in special education.
Sadly, since it is not enough to show that your child has a disabling condition; you must show that your child's disability has an adverse effect on their education. No where can you find how "adversely effected" is measured in a definition in any special education book that I have came across. However, you and their teacher can measure this by grades, test scores, classroom behavior, etc.
You can get your child to qualify for special education without one of the specific conditions on a "Developmentally delayed" condition. Nonetheless, this disability can only occur from the ages 3-9. Once your child is older than nine, they have to have one of the conditions above and can no longer qualify under the developmentally delayed category.
After your child is evaluated, the school will schedule an IEP meeting to discuss your child's eligibility for special education.
I remember learning all of this when I received my special education degree. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that all of my special education knowledge would come in so handy with my own children. NEVER did that thought cross my mind. God sure takes us down one path in order to prepare us for our next path in life!