The Indiana State Department of Education created its own administrative code which, in conjunction with Indiana statute, provides for the definition and qualifications of a Student with a Disability for educational purposes.

There are primarily three requirements for a child to be qualified as a student with a disability. The first requirement is that the student must fall under at least one of the 13 eligibility categories which are:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • blind or low vision
  • cognitive disability
  • deaf or hard of hearing
  • deaf-blind
  • developmental disability (early childhood)
  • emotional disability
  • language or speech impairment
  • multiple disabilities
  • orthopedic impairment
  • specific learning disability
  • traumatic brain injury
  • other health impairment

The second requirement is that the student’s impairment, under at least one of the 13 categories, adversely affects their educational performance. This analysis can be complex as each student’s unique set of facts and circumstances will weigh in the analysis as to whether their impairment “adversely affects” their educational performance.

The third requirement is that the student must need a special education and related services as a result of the impairment in order to receive an educational benefit from an educational program. The significant requirement here is “need.” A typical example of when a child does not need a special education service is if their grades and attendance are above average.