Orange County’s public schools are required to provide eligible children with opportunities for special education and any services related to it. The term “eligible” is covered by 13 categories of disabilities outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that could adversely affect a child. If a child falls into one of the categories under IDEA, the school system is obligated to provide him or her with certain services, including a special education program.
The 13 categories include issues such as traumatic brain injuries, an orthopedic impairment, deafness and other serious hearing impairment, and blindness and other visual impairments that cannot be corrected with glasses. If a child suffers from deaf-blindness, he or she would fall into that category. Other categories covered by the law include Autism spectrum disorder, mental health impairments, and speech and language impairments. There is also a seemingly “catch all” category that covers other health impairments that limit a child’s alertness, energy or strength.
Then there is a category to cover specific learning disabilities, which makes up the largest percentage of children falling under IDEA. Disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia fall into this type. Other conditions such as nonverbal learning disability and auditory processing disorder would also be considered specific learning disabilities. Rounding out the list are children who suffer from multiple disabilities that fall into at least one of the other categories.
It may not be an easy task for Orange County parents to determine which category their child fits into, let alone convincing the school system. It would most likely be advantageous to work with an attorney experienced in this area of law who can answer questions and concerns regarding IDEA, and advocate on behalf of a child with the school system. After all, a disability should not keep a child from having as many educational opportunities as possible.