(1) Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and
nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before
age 3, that 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 means 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 means 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
(4) Emotional disturbance means 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:
(i) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory,
or health factors.
(ii) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships
with peers and teachers;
(iii) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal
(iv) a generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
(v) 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
(5) Hearing impairment means an 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 in this section.
(6) Learning disability means 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, as
determined in accordance with section 200.4(j) of this Part. 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 an intellectual disability, of emotional disturbance, or of
environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
(7) Intellectual disability means significantly subaverage 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 means concomitant impairments (such as intellectual
disability-blindness, intellectual disability-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 means 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 contractures).
(10) 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 means a communication disorder, such as
stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice
impairment, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.
(12) Traumatic brain injury means 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, judgement, 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 means an impairment in vision that,
even with correction, adversely affects a student’s educational performance.
The term includes both partial sight and blindness.