Low Incidence


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.


young boy with headphones
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 user 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.


Young girl holding magnifying glass
Visual impairments can be defined from 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.


Young girl holding a pair of glasses above her head
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.