Other Health Impairment (OHI) is a category of disability recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
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 “due to an acute or chronic health problem” such as:
- Attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Heart conditions
- Lead poisoning
- Nephritis (kidney inflammation)
- Rheumatic fever
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Tourette Syndrome
- These are not the only conditions that might qualify a student under other health impairment.
Under what circumstances is a child eligible for services?
A health condition or disease is chronic if it is long-standing, always present or happens over and over. An acute health condition is one that happens suddenly, develops quickly, has intense symptoms and may last for a short period of time. They key concept is that the child is eligible under OHI if the health condition causes: Limited strength, vitality, or alertness and has a negative effect on educational performance.
Eligibility for special education services under the category of other health impairment is determined by a “comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team” which includes one of these: An orthopedic surgeon, an internal medicine doctor, a doctor of neurology, a pediatrician, a family or other approved doctor.
What if my child is not eligible for special education?
You may consider a Section 504 plan, this is a written plan for students who require accommodations to be successful in the classroom. It is not specialized instruction.
- IEP vs 504 Plan: What’s the Difference Understood.org
Parents also have the right to file a State Complaint or request a Due Process hearing.
- More information on Dispute Resolution.
What do I need to think about for my child’s IEP?
When the student is found to be eligible for special education, he/she is also eligible to receive related services which support the child and help him or her access and take advantage of the special education services. These may include medical services and school health or school nurse services. What services each student needs is determined by the Individualized Education Program of which the parent or caregiver is a vital part. This means parents and educators work together to make an educational plan that provides supports, services, accommodations and modifications that fit the individual student with a health impairment.
Is there some technology that can help my student learn?
Assistive technology is a related service listed in IDEA. Technology is a key to leveling the playing field for individuals with disabilities. Check out the TechMatrix for suggestions for finding educational and assistive technology products for students with disabilities. Learn more on our Assistive Technology webpage.