There are 14 specific primary programs defined in IDEA. These federal terms and definitions guide how States define disabilities and who is eligible for a free appropriate public education under special education law. In order to fully meet the definition (and eligibility for special education and related services) as a "child with a disability," a child's educational performance must be adversely affected due to the disability.
The definitions of these specific programs from the IDEA regulations are as follows:
Autism Spectrum Disorder: this means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Deaf / Hard of Hearing: Hard of Hearing means a hearing impairment so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Deaf: this means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but is not included under the definition of "deafness".
Developmentally Delayed: To qualify for this program, a child who is developmentally delayed at birth to two years of age (under Part C services) or three through five years of age (for part B services) and is delayed in one or more of the following areas: adaptive or self-help development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or physical development, including fine, gross, or perceptual motor.
Dual- Sensory Imparied (Deal/Blindness): this means simultaneous hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities: this means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
(a) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors,
(b) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers,
(c) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances,
(d) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, and
(e) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
Gifted: this is defined by one who has superior intellectual development and is capable of high performance. Typically students eligible for this program possess intelligence levels that are two standard deviations or more above the mean or average.
Hospital Homebound: this means a student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric condition which is acute or catastrophic in nature, or chronic illness or a repeated intermittent illness due to a persisting condition that confines the student to a home or hospital, and restricts activities for an extended period of time. This medical diagnosis shall be made by a licensed physician.