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Classification of Students with Intellectual Disabilities

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What are issues surrounding the definition and classification of students with Intellectual Disabilities?

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Since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed in 1975, students have been classified for special education services under 13 different categories including autism, deafness, deaf/blindness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disability, speech and language impairment, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment (NICHY, 1995).

The problem with this classification system is that it varies (sometimes greatly) from state to state, and even from school district to school district. "The federal IDEA regulations require that students found to have a specific learning disability (SLD) must exhibit a 'severe discrepancy between ability and achievement' in 1 or more of 7 achievement areas" (Cortiella, 2009). In addition, exclusion criteria also needs to be ruled out including the cause for the intellectual disability being from "...visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, and environmental, cultural, and economic disadvantage" (Cortiella, 2009). ...

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This posting discusses issues surrounding the definition and classification of students with Intellectual Disabilities