What defines a "disability" under the law?
As defined by federal law: "An individual with a disability means any person who: (i) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment" [34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(1)].
Conditions or impairments may include specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness that may not be obvious. If the condition substantially limits that child's ability to access their education, the student may be considered to have an "impairment". As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of non-disabled students (The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Pamphlet).