Don Peek – Other Health Impairment

This post is authored by Don Peek, a former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. To learn more, or to subscribe to the School Funding Center Grant Database, go to schoolfundingcenter.

Other Health Impairment

From time to time I will highlight one of the disabilities that may make students eligible for special education services. Remember, however, that I do say “may make students eligible” because not only does a disability have to be present, but it must impact the education of a student in a negative way if the impairment is to qualify a student for special education services.

Some disabilities would obviously quality students for services such as blindness and deafness. For others, students have to be given a battery of tests to determine eligibility. Such is the case with learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities. Another category that may qualify a student for services is termed “other health impairment”.

IDEA’s definition of OHI states that “Other health impairment means 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 –
(i) 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 syndrome, and

(ii) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

This is not an exhaustive list and some other health impairments may also qualify, such as:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Other organic neurological disorders

If a child is found to have any of these disorders and is found to be eligible for special education, that student will also be eligible for related school services while in school. These can be important. These services include:

  • Medical services – provided by a licensed physician for diagnostic and evaluative purposes only
  • School health services and school nurse services – provided by either a qualified person or a school nurse in the case of school health services and provided by a school nurse in the case of school nurse services.

These are in place so that every child will receive FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) under section 504.

As with other special education services, if a child is under 3 years old, parents should seek out state early intervention services that will identify a child’s problem and, based on the child’s disability, design and deliver an individualized family service plan.

If a child is between 3 and 21, parents should go directly to their local public school and request special education services beginning with a comprehensive and individual evaluation to determine the child’s eligibility and what types of services are needed to address the child’s needs.


Grant Name: Smith Charitable Trust Educational Grants

Funded By: May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Description: Giving on a national basis to organizations that serve the needs of children, the elderly, the disabled, and the disadvantaged. Interests include art and music, education, and the mentally and physically disabled. No grants to organizations receiving significant government funding.

Program Areas: Arts, Community Involvement/Volunteerism, Disabilities, Early Childhood, General Education, Math, Reading, Science/Environment, Social Studies

Recipients: Public School, Private School, Higher Ed, Other

Proposal Deadline: Apply online at website

Average Amount: $3,000.00 – $250,000.00

Telephone: 415-332-0166



Availability: All States


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s