Any disability for which a small number of personnel with highly specialized skills and knowledge are needed in order for children with that disability to receive Early Intervention services or a free appropriate public education. Sensory Impairment refers to any diagnosed loss of hearing, vision or a combination of both visual and hearing impairments simultaneously, called Deaf-Blindness.
Hearing loss ranges from mild or moderate hearing loss in the person who is hard of hearing, to profound hearing loss in the person who is deaf. The use of the term “deaf” generally identifies the person from an audiological testing or measurement perspective, as above. The use of the big D as in “Deaf” identifies those people who consider themselves to be culturally deaf.
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Visual impairments can be defined from a legal, educational, rehabilitative or functional perspective. “Children with visual impairments” includes a broad range of children who require early intervention or special education services because of the severity of their visual limitations. Children with low vision or limited vision can usually be educated to varying degrees using the visual sense. The term “blind” is applied when children must be educated through tactile and sensory channels other than vision.
Children who have both hearing and visual impairments are usually considered to have Deaf-Blindness, although they may have some vision and/or hearing. When the combination of sensory impairments causes such severe communication and other educational or developmental problems that they cannot be accommodated in programs solely for deaf or blind children, the children are considered to have Deaf-Blindness.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) defines acquired brain injury as an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. A blow to the head, a penetrating injury, and violent shaking can all result in a traumatic brain injury. For children under the age of 5, the leading causes of TBI include falls, motor vehicle accidents, and abuse. The severity of the TBI and the resulting effects vary from child to child, and some effects may be identified long after the actual injury. This is often due to the ongoing development of the young child and the changing demands and learning expectations required as the child grows. For this reason, it is important to identify children who have sustained a TBI, provide support for their individual needs, and monitor and support those needs as they change over time.