Exceptional Children's Program

Every child with a disability, age 3 through 21 has the right to a free and appropriate public education which takes into account his/her unique needs, emphasizes special education and related services, and includes preparation for further education, employment and independent living. The law also provides for early intervention services for children with disabilities from birth through two years of age. Services may include a complete evaluation if appropriate, an Individualized Education Program, or a referral to other agencies when needed. If you know of a child or youth with a disability who may need to receive special assistance, you can contact your child’s teacher, Principal, or the Exceptional Children Program Director for the school system.

Terri Hefner-Scott
Exceptional Children
Email Terri Hefner-Scott

For Parents

We hope this page becomes your portal for all relevant and important information. Our goal is to help you participate in your child's educational program. This page includes the following:

  • A section of important procedural information for parents

  • A list of various parent resources covering many areas of disabilities

One of our goals is to continually strive to develop and strengthen our relationships and collaborative efforts with our parents and community members. Please let us know how we can help you with meeting the needs of your child.


Autism (AU): a developmental disability, which significantly affects a child's ability to communicate, process sensory information and interact socially. Some students with autism have average to above-average cognitive ability, while others may function in the mild to severe range of intellectual disability.

Deaf-blindness (DB): means hearing and visual impairments that occur together, 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.

Deafness (DF): means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.

Developmental delay (DD): means a child aged three through seven, whose development and/or behavior is delayed or atypical, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development, and who, by reason of the delay, needs special education and related services.

Hearing impairment (HI): an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Intellectual disability (ID): significantly sub average general intellectual functioning that adversely affects a child’s educational performance existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.

Multiple disabilities (MU): two or more disabilities occurring together (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic impairment (OI): a severe physical impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, 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 contractures, etc.)

Other health impairment (OHI): having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that--

  • Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette’s Syndrome, etc.; and

  • Adversely affects a child's educational performance.

Serious emotional disability (ED): a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:

(A) An inability to make educational progress 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.

(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Serious emotional disability includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance as described.

Specific Learning Disorder (LD) is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the impaired ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of serious emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Speech or language impairment (SI): A communication disorder, such as impairment in fluency, articulation, language, or voice/ resonance that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Language may include function of language (pragmatic), the content of language (semantic), and the form of language (phonologic, morphologic, and syntactic systems). Speech or language impairment may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities.

Traumatic brain injury (TB): an 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. Traumatic brain injury 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 functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Visual impairment (VI): (including blindness) an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. A visual impairment is the result of a diagnosed ocular or cortical pathology.