Eligibility and Exceptionalities


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the school your child attends.


An exceptional student as defined in Rules 6A-6.03011 through 6A-6.03031, FAC, means any child or youth who requires special instruction or related services and is enrolled in or eligible for enrollment in the public schools of a district.

An exceptional student as defined in Rules 6A-6.03011 through 6A-6.03031, FAC, includes any exceptional child or youth enrolled in or eligible for enrollment in an educational program operated by the Department either directly or through grants or contractual agreement, pursuant to Section 230.23(4)(n), Florida Statutes.

The Department, grantee or contractor shall operate special programs for exceptional students consistent with all State Board of Education rules for special programs for exceptional students contained in Chapter 6A-6,FAC.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) RULE 6A-6.03023
    Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that reflects a wide range of symptoms and levels of impairment, which vary in severity from one (1) individual to another. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by an atypical developmental profile with a pattern of qualitative impairments in social interaction and social communication, and the presence of restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, which occur across settings.
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) RULE 6A-6.03013

    Students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. A student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing has a hearing loss aided or unaided, that impacts the processing of linguistic information and which adversely affects performance in the educational environment. The degree of loss may range from mild to profound.

  • Developmentally Delayed (DD) RULE 6A-6.03027
    A child who is developmentally delayed is three (3) to five (5) year of age and is delayed in one (1) or more of the following areas:

    Adaptive or self-help development,

    • Cognitive development,
    • Communication development,
    • Social or emotional development,
    • Physical development including fine, or gross, or perceptional motor. 

    Students who are developmentally delayed are served in an exceptional student education pre-kindergarten

  • Dual-Sensory Impairment (DSI) RULE 6A-6.03022
    • Dual sensory impairment is defined to mean concomitant hearing and visual impairments, or an etiology or diagnosed medical condition that indicates a potential dual sensory loss, the combination of which impacts communication, independence, and other developmental and educational needs.
    • Functional blindness is defined to mean that the physical structures of the eye may be functioning, but the student does not attend to, examine, or utilize visual information. This may include cortical visual impairment.
    • Functional hearing loss is defined to mean that parts of the auditory system may be functioning but the student does not attend to, respond, localize, or utilize auditory information. This may include cortical hearing impairment or auditory neuropathy or auditory dyssynchrony.
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disability (EBD) RULE 6A-6.03016
    Students with an emotional/behavioral disability (E/BD). A student with an emotional/behavioral disability has persistent (is not sufficiently responsive to implemented evidence based interventions) and consistent emotional or behavioral responses that adversely affect performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, or ethnicity.
  • Established Conditions RULE 6A-6.03030
    An infant or toddler with an established condition is defined as a child from birth through two (2) years of age with a diagnosed physical or mental condition known to have a high probability of resulting in developmental delay. Such conditions shall include genetic and metabolic disorders, neurological disorders a severe attachment disorder, an autism spectrum disorder, a sensory impairment (vision or hearing), or the infant’s birth weight was less than 1,200 grams.
  • Hospital/Homebound (H/H) RULE 6A-6.03020
    A homebound or hospitalized student is a student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric condition which is acute or catastrophic in nature, or a chronic illness, or a repeated intermittent illness due to a persisting medical problem and which confines the student to home or hospital, and restricts activities for an extended period of time. The medical diagnosis shall be made by a licensed physician.
  • Intellectual Disabilities (InD) RULE 6A-6.03011

    Students with intellectual disabilities. An intellectual disability is defined as significantly below average general intellectual and adaptive functioning manifested during the developmental period, with significant delays in academic skills. Developmental period refers to birth to eighteen (18) years of age.

  • Orthopedically Impaired (OI) RULE 6A-6.030151

    Orthopedic impairment means a severe skeletal, muscular, or neuromuscular impairment. The term includes impairments resulting from congenital anomalies (e.g. including but not limited to skeletal deformity or spina bifida), and impairments resulting from other causes (e.g., including but not limited to cerebral palsy or amputations).

  • Other Health Impaired (OHI) RULE 6A-6.030152
    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 is due to chronic or acute health problems. This includes, but is not limited to, asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and acquired brain injury.
  • Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) RULE 6A-6.03018

    A specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest in significant difficulties affecting the ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematics. Associated conditions may include dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or developmental aphasia. A specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of a visual, hearing, motor, intellectual, or emotional/behavioral disability limited English proficiency or environmental, cultural, or economic factors.

  • Speech and Language Impaired (SLI) RULE 6A-6.03012

    Speech impairments are disorders of speech sounds, fluency, or voice that interfere with communication, adversely affect performance and/or functioning in the educational environment, and result in the need for exceptional student education.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) RULE 6A-6.030153

    A traumatic brain injury means 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 educational performance. The term applies to mild, moderate, or severe, open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one (1) 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, or speech. The term includes anoxia due to trauma. The term does not include brain injuries that are congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.

  • Visually Impaired (VI) RULE 6A-6.03014

    Students who are visually impaired include the following:

    • A student who is blind, has no vision, or has little potential for using vision. 
    • A student who has low vision.
    • The term visual impairment does not include students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual perceptual and/or visual motor difficulties.

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