Eligibility for Special Education under designation of Deaf-Blindness


The MDE Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) define eligibility for special education services within thirteen (13) categories of disability. You can view the full MARSE document on MDE’s webpage.

R 340.1702 Student with a disability defined.
Rule 2. “Student with a disability” means a person who is determined by an individualized education program team or a hearing officer to have 1 or more of the impairments specified in this part that necessitates special education or related services, or both, who is not more than 25 years of age as of September 1 of the school year of enrollment, who has not completed a normal course of study, and who has not graduated from high school. A student who reaches the age of 26 years after September 1 is a “student with a disability” and entitled to continue a special education program or service until the end of that school year.

R 340.1717 Deaf-Blindness defined; determination.
Rule 17. (1) Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing impairment and visual impairment, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs without additional supports to address the unique needs specific to deaf-blindness. Deaf-blindness also means both of the following:

(a) Documented hearing and visual losses that, if considered individually, may not meet the requirements for visual impairment or hearing impairment, but the combination of the losses affects educational performance.

(b) Such students function as if they have both a hearing and visual loss, based upon responses to auditory and visual stimuli in the environment, or during vision and hearing evaluations.

(2) A determination of the disability shall be based upon data provided by a multidisciplinary evaluation team which shall include assessment data from all of the following:

(a) Medical specialists such as any of the following:
(i) An ophthalmologist.
(ii) An optometrist.
(iii) An audiologist.
(iv) An otolaryngologist.
(v) An otologist.
(vi) A family physician or any other approved physician as defined in 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.1101 et seq.

(b) A teacher of students with visual impairment.

(c) A teacher of students with hearing impairment.

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