My issue with “other health impairment”

Monday, August 1st, 2016

This was the category I was under from 6th grade and up. Before I was under communication disorder, multi handicapped, and developmental delay from what I remember according to my past IEP reports. In 7th grade it was Autism.

But something about the OHI bothers me. It just means having having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment. Then it says “that (a)is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis [a kidney disorder], rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and (b) adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”

I don’t like the idea of my learning style of being called a health problem. I was diagnosed with ADD as a kid. I don’t know if I was placed under here because of my anxiety and OCD but that was also my medical DX by my doctor in high school because I saw the paper for it. I try to not let this category bother me. I remember being 17 and I first saw this as my IEP category and asked my teacher about it and she said “it’s just a category” when I asked her what it meant. I didn’t like the idea then that my health was being called impaired when I was fine.

In middle school and high school I had a full time aide, I was taken out of class if I had my outbursts or got too upset because of something a person said or the teacher did or me not getting something and not understanding an assignment. My social skills had to be worked on, I had to turn my work in on time and be more aware of my needs and asking for help, my work was modified to make it more concrete, I would be given a different book to read for English that was easier for me to understand, I would be taken to the resource room with the other kids and do a test together, I had to remember to raise my hand, I didn’t need to fill out my agenda much in high school which was one of the goals I had for my IEP when I was younger. In middle school I was just in the resource room full time and only went to a few classes with other kids like PE, art, script writing, choir and my IEP goal was to fill out my agenda and use details and also to transition to other classrooms from the resource room and also to get along with people and work on my relationship skills with people and I was better with transitions by then.

I wish there was another category in the IEP called “Other Disability” because that is so much better than being told your health is impaired because of your different brain wiring. ADHD is a different brain wiring too but yet that is being called an health impairment as if they are not healthy. Why not call all the other disabilities and mental problems a health impairment?

I also asked my mother why I was under other health impaired and she said nothing else fit. She said other health impairment was for to help me in areas I needed help in.



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