High-Incidence Disabilities

Students with high-incidence disabilities make up 80% of all students with disabilities. Friend and Bursuck (2012) say students with High-Incidence disabilities share these characteristics:
  1. Often hard to distinguish from students without disabilities, especially in non-school settings.
  2. Often display a combination of academic, behavioral and social problems.
  3. Can meet same standards as students without disabilities when highly structured interventions are put into place.

High-Incidence disabilities include the following IDEA categories:

  • Speech and Language Impairment - communication disorder that adversely affects a child's educational disorder.  Includes:
    • stuttering
    • impaired articulation
    • language or voice impairment
  • Learning Disabilities - disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written language.  May manifest in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.  Does not apply to learning problems primarily the result of visual, hearing, motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.  DOES Include:
    • perceptual disabilities
    • Brain injury
    • minimal brain disfunction
    • dyslexia
    • developmental aphasia
  • Emotional Disturbance - condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, adversely affecting educational performance.  (DOES NOT INCLUDE students who are socially maladjusted):
    • an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
    • an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
    • a general or pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
    • inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances
    • tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
    • schizophrenia
  • Mild Intellectual Disabilities - below average functioning (IQ 55-70)

General accommodations and modifications for students with High-Incidence disabilities:

    • Foster listening skills - praise for good listening skills to reinforce concept.  Teaching listening skills is a great way manage socialization and behavior and it also creates a respectful atmosphere.  In addition, the teacher can model appropriate language.
    • Make changes to classroom environment - each child is different.  Changes in seating arrangement and availability of resources may be a factor in keeping students on task
  • Engage students in meaningful tasks - Students who are motivated engage in learning more often
  • Create opportunities for social interaction - This not only gives an opportunity to students with language issues to practice, it allows for students to learn from each other.
  • Create a behavioral management system - set rules, set consequences, and follow through. 
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