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(13.4) What are the eligibility criteria for children with disabilities who are three to five years old?

(13.4) What are the eligibility criteria for children with disabilities who are three to five years old?

Eligibility criteria for preschool children are the same as the criteria for school-age children, except there is the additional category of established medical disability. To be eligible for special education, a child must have one of the following disabling conditions:

  1. Autism;
  2. Deaf-blindness;
  3. Deafness;
  4. Emotional disturbance;
  5. Hearing impairment;
  6. Mental Retardation;
  7. Multiple disabilities;
  8. Orthopedic impairment;
  9. Other health impairment (includes attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
  10. Specific learning disability;
  11. Speech or language impairment in one or more of voice, fluency, language, and articulation;
  12. Traumatic brain injury;
  13. Visual impairment; or
  14. Established medical disability.

[Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11(c).]

Conditions A through M are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 34, Sec. 300.8(c) and California Code of Regulations, Chapter 5, Sec. 3030(b).

An “established medical disability” is defined in as “a disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome that the IEP team determines has a high predictability of requiring special education and services.”  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11(d).]

In addition to meeting the criteria of one or more of the disabling conditions, a child must need “specially designed instruction or services” to qualify for special education.  Also, the child must have needs that cannot be met by modifying the home or school (or both), without ongoing monitoring or support.  [Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56441.11(b)(2) & (3).]

A child is not eligible for special education and services if she does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria and her educational needs are due primarily to:

  1. Unfamiliarity with the English language;
  2. Temporary physical disabilities;
  3. Social maladjustment; or
  4. Environmental, cultural, or economic factors.

[Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11(c).]