Region One Education Service Center
Low Incidence Disabilities
Region One strives to provide technical assistance and professional development to school personnel and parents. Our ultimate goal is to help those in the "front lines" help those special learners achieve their potential.
Significant Disabilities Defined
Significant disabilities are also identified as “low-incidence” disabilities by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE.) Low-incidence disabilities are defined by the USDE as a visual impairment or a hearing loss, or a simultaneous visual impairment and hearing loss, a significant cognitive impairment, or any impairment for which a small number of personnel with highly specialized skills and knowledge are needed in order for children with that disability to receive early intervention services or a free appropriate public education. Children with low incidence disabilities comprise less than one-half of one percent of the school-age population. (NCLID, 2006)
Medically Fragile Defined
The term “medically fragile” comes from a memorandum of understanding defining responsibilities for providing services to children who are medically fragile – October 27, 1994.
Medically fragile describes a student who
has a serious ongoing illness or a chronic condition that has lasted or is anticipated to last at least 12 or more months or has required at least one month of hospitalization, and
that requires daily ongoing medical treatments and monitoring by appropriately trained personnel which may include parents or other family members, and
requires the routine use of a medical device or the use of assistive technology to compensate for the loss of usefulness of a body function needed to participate in activities of daily living; and
lives with ongoing threat to his or her continual well being.
The term deaf blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness. Code of Federal Regulations 300.8(c)(2)
In meeting the criteria for deaf-blindness, the child with deaf-blindness is one who:
- Meets the criteria for auditory impairment and visual impairment;
- Meets eligibility criteria for visual impairment and has a suspected hearing loss that cannot be demonstrated conclusively, but there is no speech at an age when speech would normally be expected, as determined by a speech-language therapist, a certified speech and language therapist, or a licensed speech language pathologist;
- Has documented hearing and visual losses that, if considered individually, may not meet the requirements for auditory impairment or visual impairment, but the combination of such losses adversely affects the student's educational performance; or
- Has a documented medical diagnosis of a progressive medical condition that will result in related auditory and visual losses that, without special education intervention, will adversely affect educational performance.
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