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Special Education Handbook

Appendix A
New Jersey Special Education Eligibility Criteria

"Auditorily impaired" means an inability to hear within normal limits due to physical impairment or dysfunction of auditory mechanisms that results in deafness (student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification) or hearing impairment (permanent or fluctuating impairment); audiological evaluation by a specialist qualified in audiology and a speech and language evaluation by certified speech-language specialist is required.

"Autistic" means a pervasive developmental disability which significantly impacts verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction; onset is generally before age 3; some characteristics include repetitive activities, stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, unusual responses to sensory experiences and lack of responsiveness to others; assessment by certified speech-language specialist and by a physician trained in neuro-developmental assessment required.

"Cognitively impaired" means below average general cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior, manifested during the developmental period; "mild" means mildly below age expectations in quality and rate of leaning, use of symbols for interpretation of information and solution of problems, performance on intelligence test two-three standard deviations below the norm; "moderate" means cognitive development and adaptive behavior moderately below age expectations in ability to use symbols in solving problems of low complexity, the ability to function socially without direct and close supervision in home, school and community, and performance on intelligence test 3 or more standard deviations below norm; "severe" means functioning severely below age expectations, consistently incapable of giving evidence of understanding and responding in a positive manner to simple directions expressed in the child's primary mode of communication, and unable to express basic wants and needs.

"Communication impaired" means a language disorder in the areas of morphology, syntax, semantics and/or pragmatics/discourse, not due primarily to an auditory impairment; problem is demonstrated through functional assessment of language in other than a testing situation and performance below 1.5 standard deviations, or the 10th % on at least two standardized oral language tests; an evaluation by certified speech-language specialist is required; if the student requires only speech-language instruction, the student is classified as eligible for speech-language services; when there is a disorder of articulation, voice, or fluency, the student is also classified as eligible for speech-language services.

"Emotionally disturbed" means exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, adversely affecting educational performance due to an inability to learn that can't be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal, relationships with peers or teachers, inappropriate types of behaviors, or feelings under normal circumstances, a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depress, a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

"Multiply disabled" means the presence of two or more disabling conditions (excluding speech-language), the combination of which causes problems that can't be addressed by program designed for the individual disabling conditions.

"Deaf-blindness" means the presence of hearing and visual impairments that cause such severe communication and other problems that they can't be addressed in programs solely for students with deafness or with blindness.

"Orthopedically impaired" means a disability characterized by a severe orthopedic impairment, including malfunction or loss of bones, muscle or tissue; a medical assessment is required.

"Other health impaired" means a disability that may be characterized by limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems, such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes or any other medical condition, including Tourette's Syndrome, that adversely affects educational performance; a medical assessment is required.

"Preschool disabled" means an identifiable disability and/or a measurable developmental impairment occurring between the ages of 3-5 and requiring special education and related services.

"Social maladjustment" means a consistent inability to conform to the standards for behavior established by the school; the behavior is seriously disruptive to the education of the student or other students and is not due to emotional disturbance.

"Specific learning disability" means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do math calculations; characterized by a severe discrepancy between the student's current achievement and intellectual ability in () basic reading skills, (2) reading comprehensive, (3) oral expression, (4) listening comprehensive, (5) math computation, (6) math reasoning, and/or (7) written expression; does not apply to students with learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing on. motor disabilities, general cognitive deficits, emotional disturbance, or environment, cultural or economic disadvantage; each district must adopt procedures that use a statistical formula and criteria to determine "severe discrepancy"; assessment must include current academic., ac._evenient and intellectual ability.

"Traumatic brain injury" means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or insult to the brain, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both; applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments to aeas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, speech.

"Visual impairment" means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects educational performance; includes partial sight and blindness; assessment by specialist qualified to determine visual disability is required; students must be reported to the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

"Eligible for speech-language" means a speech disorder in articulation, phonology, fluency, voices, or any combination unrelated to dialect, cultural differences or influence of foreign language, or a language disorder requiring only speech-languag services; for articulation/phonology, the student exhibits one or more sound production error patterns beyond the age at which 90% of the population has achieved masery according to current developmental norms and misarticulates sounds consistently in a speech sample; for fluency, the student demonstrates at least a mild rating on a formal fluency rating scale and in a speech sample, the studentexhibits disfluency in 5% or more of the words spoken; for voice, the student performs below the normal level for voice quality, pitch, resonance, loudness or duration and the condition is evident on two separate occasioins, three to four weeks apart, at different times.

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