Some Specific Conditions

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A brief description of some of the medical conditions that are identified in the definition of other health impairment are listed below.  However, they should not be viewed as the only medical conditions that have the potential to adversely impact the academic achievement of a student.

National Association of Special Education Teachers is an organization dedicated to meeting the needs of special education teachers and those preparing for the field of special education teaching. It identifies additional medical conditions that might meet the criteria for other health impairment.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Individuals may present symptoms  predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive.

Symptoms must be present before the age of 12 and observed in two or more settings. Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention to detail, staying organized, maintaining focus, regulating emotions and impulse control, and playing quietly. These difficulties usually begin before the age of seven, but often may not be noticed until the child is older.

Outside Resources

  • is a support web for ADHD children and adults.

Diabetes, Epilepsy, and Heart Disease


Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The The American Diabetes Association recognizes two overall goals for a child with diabetes under IDEA:

  • To provide the child with any needed assistance to keep up with schoolwork that the child either missed because he or she was involved with diabetes care, or had difficulty understanding because he or she was experiencing high or low blood sugar levels; and
  • To keep the child safe and maintain optimal learning ability by providing the means to keep his or her blood sugar levels in the best control possible.


The Epilepsy Foundation of America defines epilepsy as a physical condition that occurs when there is a sudden, brief change in how the brain works.  Improperly functioning brain cells can cause epileptic seizures marked by alterations in a person's consciousness, movement, or actions for a short time.

Heart Disease

The two types of heart disease in children are "congenital" and acquired."  Present at birth, congenital heart disease (also known as a congenital heart defect), can include such conditions as patent ductus arteriosis, atrial septal fefects, and ventricular septal defects.  Diseases such as Kawasaki disease, rheumatic fever, and infective endocarditis are categorized as acquired heart disease,  and typically develops sometime during childhood.

  • How to Help Your Kids – From the American Heart Association, information on diseases, conditions and treatments related to children's health