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Committee on Special Education Eligibility

Students are eligible for special education services based upon thirteen areas of disability as outlined in the New York State Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. When students are referred to the Committee on Special Education, eligibility is determined after reviewing relevant evaluations and the student’s present levels of academic, social/emotional and physical and needs.

The CSE must also determine that appropriate interventions and supports have been implemented prior to considering eligibility for classification.

A student with a disability (SWD) is defined as a student who, because of mental, physical or emotional reasons, has been identified as having a disability and who requires special services and programs approved by the New York State Education Department. The thirteen areas of disability defined in regulation are as follows:

(1) Autism

Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, which adversely affects a student’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 routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance as defined in paragraph 4 of this subdivision. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in this paragraph are otherwise satisfied.

(2) Deafness

Deafness is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

(3) Deaf-blindness

Deaf-blindness is concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

(4)Emotional Disturbance (ED)

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 student’s educational performance:

  • an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
  • an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
  • inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
  • a generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
  • a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

(5) Hearing Impairment (HI)

A hearing impairment is impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

(6) Learning Disability (LD)

A learning disability is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

(7) Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

Intellectual Disability is used to identify a student significantly below average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

(8) Multiple Disabilities (MD)

Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

(9) Orthopedic Impairment (OI)

Orthopedic impairment is a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation, and fractures or burns which cause contracture).

(10) Other Health-Impairment (OHI)

Other health-impairment means having 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, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or tourette syndrome, which adversely affects a student's educational performance.

(11) Speech or Language Impairment

A speech or language impairment is a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment (receptive or expressive), or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a student's educational performance.

(12) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, anoxia or brain tumors with resulting impairments that adversely affect educational performance. The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.

(13) Visual Impairment including Blindness (VI)

Visual impairment including blindness is impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness










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