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  1. A child is classified as having autism when the child has a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, that is generally evident before age three, and that adversely affects educational performance.
  2. A child is classified as having traumatic brain injury whose brain injuries are caused by an external physical force or by an internal occurrence such as stroke or aneurysm, with resulting impairments that adversely affect educational performance. The term includes children with open or closed head injuries, but does not include children with brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or caused by birth trauma.
  3. The purpose of the classification, “Other Impairments” are:
    1. To further coordination with Early Childhood CARES and reduce problems of record-keeping.
    2. To assist parents in making the transition from Head Start to other placements.
    3. To assure that no child enrolled in Head Start is denied services which would be available to other preschool children who are considered to have disabilities in their State.
  4. If the State Education Agency eligibility criteria for preschool children include an additional category which is appropriate for a Head Start child, children meeting the criteria for that category must receive services as children with disabilities in Head Start programs. Examples are “preschool disabled,” “in need of special education,” “educationally handicapped,” and “non-categorically handicapped.”
  5. Children ages three to five, inclusive, who are experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development, and who by reason thereof need special education and related services may receive services as children with disabilities in Head Start programs.
  6. Children who are classified as deaf-blind, whose concomitant hearing and visual impairments cause such severe communication and other developmental problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for deaf or blind children are eligible for services under this category.
  7. Children classified as having multiple disabilities whose concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation and blindness) in combination, cause such severe educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments are eligible for services under this category. The term does not include deaf-blind children, for record-keeping purposes.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45CFR Section 1304.21. 1308.15, 1308.16

Updated October 2012
It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997.