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ND Disability Areas


Developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects 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 child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in IDEA.


Hearing impairment so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects educational performance.


Concomitant hearing and visual impairment, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that students cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for deaf or blind students.

Emotionally Disturbed

Condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, that adversely affects educational performance:

  1. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or other health factors
  2. An inability to learn to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
  3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, OR
  5. Tendency to develop symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. This does not include students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they are emotionally disturbed.

Hearing Impairment

Hearing impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a student's educational performance but which is not included under the definition of deaf.

Intellectual Disability

Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period; adversely affects a child's educational performance.

Non-Categorical Delay

For younger children in North Dakota, the Non-Categorical Delay (NCD) eligibility option may be used for a child who is at least three years of age but less than ten years of age if the child exhibits a developmental profile in which cognitive, fine motor, vision, hearing, communication, pre-academic, socialization, or adaptive skill acquisitions are significantly below that of same-age peers, and if the child needs special education and related services, the school district may determine that the child is a student with a disability as a result of a non-categorical delay. This option may be used in situations where the determination of a disability is not clear but delays are well documented.

Orthopedically Impaired

Severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance. Includes impairments caused by congenital abnormalities (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, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contracture).

Other Health Impaired

Includes limited strength, vitality or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attentional disorder, heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia or diabetes that adversely affect a student's educational performance.

Specific Learning Disability

Disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations; includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. This does not include children who have 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.

Speech or Language Impairment

Communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem solving; sensory; perceptual and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical function; information processing; and speed. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Visual Impairment Including Blindness

Impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.