Other Health Impairment (OHI)

What is an Other Health Impairment?

Other Health Impairment (OHI) refers to a health related condition or disorder that adversely affects a student’s ability to participate or progress in the general education setting or curriculum. It can be due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, lead poisoning, leukemia, and sickle cell anemia, for example. The student with a health impairment will have limited strength, vitality, or alertness to the educational environment that adversely impacts his/her educational performance.


[Source: Source: Mich. State Board of Education Revised Administrative Rules for Special Education, June, 2002]

How is an Other Health Impairment Determined?

Educational deficits of students with a health impairment often do not fall clearly into specific categories–such as language, academic, behavioral or physical. They may exhibit global deficiencies across all educational categories or they may have very specific limitations given certain situations or subjects. Indicators of an Other Health Impairment may or may not be observable.


A student with an Other Health Impairment has a condition that adversely impacts his educational performance or academic skill acquisition. Such a condition may include: a heightened awareness to environmental stimuli that results in difficulties starting, staying on and completing tasks; or difficulties with making transitions between tasks, interacting with others, following directions, producing work consistently, organization, and/or following multi-step directions. A student may also have long periods of absences due to their health condition, and there may be significant side effects of the medication they are taking that would interfere with their academic progress.


State Rules–eligibility criteria

The IEP (Individualized Education Program) Team may determine that a child has an Other Health Impairment (OHI) if:


– Due to a chronic or acute health problem, the student manifests limited strength, vitality, or alertness to the educational environment that adversely impacts his/her educational performance

– The suspected disability is not due to limited English proficiency, or lack of instruction in math or the essential components of reading

– The student requires special education programs and services



In order to receive or continue receiving special education services, a student must be identified as Other Health Impaired and in need of special education. To make that determination, first a physician must observe, diagnose, and document a chronic or acute health condition. Once an acute and/or chronic health condition has been determined, the impact of this condition on the student’s educational performance must be assessed. A comprehensive evaluation should include consideration or assessment of:


Parent information–written and/or information obtained in person (i.e., orally)

Education history–cumulative file review, teacher progress reports, group achievement test results, etc.

Medical history–all reports pertaining to past and current health status

Academic status–within general education setting, course grades, current progress

Observations–academic performance and classroom behavior during activities related to or impacted by the area(s) of suspected disability

Behavior/adaptive functioning–formal or informal assessment of the student’s adaptive functioning and/or social-emotional functioning

Achievement–assessment of academic skills to measure continued progress or skill acquisition level

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