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March 03, 2021
Wednesday

Significant Disabilities

We provide professional development, technical assistance and resources that support serving students with significant disabilities, with the ultimate goal of helping all children succeed in school. 

Significant Disabilities Defined

Significant disabilities are also identified as “low-incidence” disabilities by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE.) Low-incidence disabilities are defined by the USDE as a visual impairment or a hearing loss, or a simultaneous visual impairment and hearing loss, a significant cognitive impairment, or any impairment for which a small number of personnel with highly specialized skills and knowledge are needed in order for children with that disability to receive early intervention services or a free appropriate public education. Children with low incidence disabilities comprise less than one-half of one percent of the school-age population. (NCLID, 2006)

The Texas definition of a student with a significant cognitive disability is a student who:

  • exhibits significant intellectual and adaptive behavior deficits in their ability to plan, comprehend, and reason, and ALSO indicates adaptive behavior deficits that limit their ability to apply social and practical skills such as personal care, social problem-solving skills, dressing, eating, using money, and other functional skills across life domains;
  • is NOT identified based on English learner designation or solely on the basis of previous low academic achievement or the need for accommodations; and
  • requires extensive, direct, individualized instruction, as well as a need for substantial supports that are neither temporary nor specific to a particular content area.
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