Disability Groups and the Means of Verification
Be aware that certification requirements may be different from high school to college
and from college to college. Please check with the Disability Support Services program at
the college you are considering. The following certification requirements apply at California
State University, Fullerton.
ACQUIRED BRAIN IMPAIRMENT (ABI)
ABI is defined as acquired brain impairment caused by external or internal trauma, resulting
in total or partial functional limitations that adversely affect or limit students' educational
performance by impairing:
1. cognition, information processing, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment and/or problem
2. language and/or speech
3. memory and/or attention
4. sensory, perceptual and/or motor abilities
5. psychosocial behavior
6. physical functions
ABI does not apply to functional limitations resulting from brain trauma induced by birth,
present at birth or which is progressive and/or degenerative in nature.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. A licensed professional such as a psychologist, neuropsychologist,
or physician can verify this disability, or by the documentation of a referring agency if
a licensed professional as indicated above does the verification.
DEAF/HARD OF HEARING
Deaf/HOH means total deafness or a hearing loss so severe that a student is impaired in
processing information through hearing, with or without amplification.
Deaf/HOH does not apply where the loss or impairment is the result of a psychological disability,
autism, or ABI.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. A physician or other licensed professional must verify
LEARNING DISABILITY (LD)
Learning disability is defined as a persistent condition of a presumed neurological dysfunction.
The dysfunction continues despite instruction in standard classroom situations. Learning
disabilities are exhibited by:
1. persons of average to above-average intellectual ability and
2. persons with severe processing deficit(s) and/or
3. persons with severe aptitude-achievement discrepancy(ies).
A learning disability does not apply to learning problems resulting from any physical,
visual, hearing impairments, psychological disability, ABI, below average intellectual functioning,
or any health related disability.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. This disability must be verified using the California
State University LD eligibility criteria. Certain qualified DSS staff members verify this
disability based on those criteria. Documentation of appropriate test results from a qualified
professional must be submitted for review to these staff members.
The acceptable instruments for measuring aptitude are the WAIS-R, WAIS III, or WJ-R Cognitive
Battery. These should be administered within the last three years prior to graduation if
administered in high school. For adults assessed at age twenty-one or older the assessment
should be no more than five years old. Raw scores and Standard Scores must be provided.
The acceptable achievement tests are WJ-R Achievement Battery administered within the same
time frames. A qualified professional must conduct this testing.
Even though a student has been diagnosed previously, the student must meet the criteria
established by the California State University to be determined eligible for LD programs
Mobility limitation is defined as any orthopedic or physical impairment that causes a serious
limitation in locomotion or motor functions in the educational environment.
Mobility limitation may include: Impairments caused by congenital anomaly, disease, amputation,
fractures and burns. Other conditions in this category include arthritis, spinal cord injury,
post polio, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and back injury.
Mobility limitation does not apply to mobility impairments due to seeing, hearing, or psychological
or mobility limitations resulting from an ABI.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. This disability can be verified by the personal observation
of a DSS professional staff member, review of documentation from a physician, or documentation
from a referring agency if a physician did the verification for that agency.
Psychological disability is defined as a persistent psychological or psychiatric disorder,
emotional or mental illness that adversely affects educational performance. Psychological
disability is a condition which:
1. is listed in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
(DSM-IV), and is coded on Axis I and/or II as moderate to severe;
2. reflects a psychiatric or psychological condition that interferes with a major life
3. poses a functional limitation in the educational settings.
4. Recovering drug and alcohol abusers are considered psychologically disabled as long
as they are in or have completed a recovery program and meet all other conditions for this
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICE. A psychological disability can be verified by a qualified
licensed mental health professional or psychiatrist or by the documentation of a referring
agency if a licensed mental health professional or psychiatrist did the verification. Verification
documents from the mental health professional or psychiatrist should include the DSM-IV
diagnosis code and the name of the disorder plus a description of the condition as moderate
to severe. The documentation should also include descriptions of the functional limitations
as they apply to the educational setting including the impact of any medications prescribed
Speech impairment is defined as one or more speech and language disorders of voice, articulation,
rhythm and/or the receptive and expressive processes of language that limits the quality,
accuracy, intelligibility or fluency of producing the sounds that comprise spoken language
or the understanding of those produced by others.
Speech impairment does not apply to language having to do with a foreign accent. It also
does not apply to any limitation that is caused by a physical or hearing impairment, psychological
disability, learning disability or ABI.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. This disability can be verified by a licensed speech professional
or through documentation from a referring agency that obtains its verification from a licensed
Visual limitation is defined as a total or partial loss of sight that adversely affects
a student's educational performance. Visual limitation does not apply where the loss or
impairment is the result of psychological condition or ABI.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. This disability can be verified by a physician, a licensed
vision professional or through documentation from a referring agency relying upon verification
from a physician or other licensed vision professional.
This category includes all other verifiable disabilities and health related limitations
that adversely affect educational performance but do not fall into any of the other categories.
Other disabilities include conditions having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due
to chronic or acute health problems. Examples are environmental disabilities, heart conditions,
tuberculosis, nephritis, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, leukemia, epilepsy, acquired immune
deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and diabetes.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. A disability in the "other disabilities" category must
be verified by an appropriate licensed or certified professional or through documentation
from a referring agency that obtains its verification from an appropriate licensed or certified