Special Needs Education: Special Education Eligibility

Special education is a very important consideration for children with disabilities. When children suffer from academic difficulties as a result of their physical, mental or learning disabilities, it is important they are enrolled in special needs education programs that will help them maximise their learning potential.

Education Disability Classifications

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), there are 13 classifications of disability that are eligible to receive special education services. If a child has one of the following disabilities, they are eligible for special needs education services.

  1. Autism
  2. Other Health Impaired
  3. Mental Retardation
  4. Emotional Disturbance
  5. Deafness
  6. Hearing Impairment
  7. Visual Impairment
  8. Deaf-Blindness
  9. Specific Learning Disability (LD)
  10. Multiple Disabilities
  11. Orthopedic Impairment
  12. Speech or Language Impairment
  13. Traumatic Brain Injury

Parents should take a good look at IDEA’s list of disabilities to determine whether or not their children are eligible for the special education programs. Despite eligibility, many parents choose not to take advantage of the excellent special education services that their child can have access to. This is usually due to a social stigma. However, it is important parents should do what is right for their children. If children suffer from of these 13 disabilities, it is important that parents seriously consider special education services for their children.


The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (2004) – U.S. Department of Education

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