To qualify under IDEA 2004, children must meet three requirements. First they must be between the ages of three and twenty-one years and not yet graduated from high school. Second, they must have at least one of the eligible specific disabilities listed under IDEA 2004. Third, they must require special education because of that disability.
Simply having a disability does not make someone eligible for services. The child must have a need for services because of the disability. Many children with Asperger’s Disorder, despite having the disorder, do not have their educational performance or school behavior affected by it. Such children would not be eligible for special education services under IDEA 2004.
The eligible disabilities are limited to:
• Autism (includes Asperger’s Disorder)
• Hearing impairments including deafness
• Mental retardation
• Multiple disabilities
• Orthopedic impairments
• Emotional disturbance
• Specific learning disabilities
• Speech or language impairments
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Visual impairments including blindness
• Other health impairments (includes ADHD)
Children with Asperger’s Disorder who qualify under IDEA 2004 are likely to have a history of significant problems with completing class work, following rules, disrupting the class, and conflicts with peers, among others.